Transforming lives through affordable homeownership
Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity (CMHFH) works to build safe, decent, and affordable houses with and for low-income families and individuals.
Affordable homeownership helps to create stable home environments by lessening the stress and fear that comes from unstable, unsecure, and unaffordable homes. It also allows families to save for the future and invest in more educational opportunities.
1 out of 4 Minnesota households pay too much for housing and are housing cost-burdened, paying 30% or more of their income for housing.
(Minnesota Compass, 2021)
CMHFH then and now
CMHFH was founded in 1989 in response to concerns about the lack of safe, decent, and affordable housing in the St. Cloud area. Construction began that same year on the first CMHFH Habitat home and, in 1990, that home was purchased by our first partner homebuyer.
CMHFH has sold homes to 111 households in our service area.
Through Habitat for Humanity’s tithe program, we have built over 100 homes in Costa Rica, Paraguay, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
While our organization was founded in St. Cloud, we serve four counties—Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, and Wright.
Everyone in Central Minnesota has a decent place to live, at a price they can afford.
Gathering communities to transform lives through affordable homeownership.
- Partnerships are the foundation of our work.
- Empowering families to succeed as they live in stable home environments.
- Dignity and respect are achieved by everyone working together.
- Faith put into action, providing opportunities for all people.
Everyone is welcome to support our work
Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) and CMHFH have an open-door policy: everyone who believes that all people need safe, decent, and affordable places to live are welcome to help with our work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, sexuality, political views, or any of the distinctions that too often divide people. We welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serve people in need of decent housing regardless of those distinctions.
As a matter of policy, HFHI and its affiliate organizations will not proselytize. This means we don’t adhere to—or assist in converting people to—a particular faith. We also don’t listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith. Nor will we work with entities or individuals who insist on proselytizing as part of their work with Habitat.
Our Board Members
Executive Committee At Large
Executive Committee At Large
Meet our staff
Chad has over 20 years of experience working with Habitat for Humanity. With his years of experience and knowledge about affordable homeownership, Chad is looking forward to developing existing and new relationships while bolstering enthusiasm for volunteering and financial support within the CMHFH community.
Art Buhs joined CMHFH in 2016, bringing with him over fifty years of construction experience. He brings over 115,000 hours of working in the field, building everything from high schools, hospitals, hydroelectric plant pipelines, high-end custom homes and large remodels all the way down to building a little sugar shack on his property. After leading the construction team for 6 years, he currently has a consulting role and acts as property procurement officer for CMHFH.
Marie has been working with CMHFH since 2005, in addition to her work with several local businesses. She has over 25 years of experience in bookkeeping and administration for small businesses. She has spent most of her life in rural Stearns County and appreciates the opportunity to help others in the area achieve their goal of homeownership.
Jessica joined CMHFH in 2017. She enjoys supporting the team in a variety of ways, always with the goal of seeing our community come together to make affordable homeownership a reality for more of our neighbors.
Ashley joined CMHFH in August of 2021. She is happy to help families in our community get affordable housing and loves working with our volunteers. In the past, Ashley worked as an Administrative Assistant/Database Support.
Rylie is a student at the College of St. Benedict, working with CMHFH through the Bonner Leaders Program. As a Girl Scout, Rylie learned to love service activities and is incredibly excited to learn more about CMHFH, how housing impacts different aspects of life, and how non-profits operate.
Client and Homeowner Services
Josie started working with non-profits in 2014. Her experience includes program coordination, grant management, and finance work. She is a life-long Sauk Rapids resident and is excited to be part of the CMHFH team working to make safe, affordable homeownership available to members of our community.
Myths and Misconceptions
Habitat for Humanity gives homes away.
Fact: Households that partner with Habitat purchase their homes with a mortgage they can afford. This allows households that may not be able to obtain a conventional mortgage to purchase a house.
Habitat for Humanity homes negatively impact neighborhood property values.
Fact: Research has shown that affordable housing has no negative impact on home property values or the frequency and speed of sales of neighboring houses. Trulia has done research on this topic across the country, and it found there was no significant effect on home values located near a low-income unit. At CMHFH, we work with the City of St. Cloud to identify blighted properties to restore neighborhoods, which lifts property values.
Habitat for Humanity only builds homes for minorities.
Fact: Habitat for Humanity builds houses with and for anyone in need of safe, decent, and affordable housing to purchase, regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity. CMHFH is an Equal Opportunity Lender and a Fair Housing organization. We follow all Equal Opportunity Lending and Fair Housing laws, and we do not discriminate based on race, religion, nation of origin, gender, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, or any other protected classes.
Many Habitat for Humanity Partner Homebuyers are members of a minority group because a disproportionate number of those needing affordable housing are people of color. This is due to a variety of factors, including historic discrimination that prevented communities of color from owning homes and building generational wealth.
You need a construction background to volunteer with CMHFH.
Fact: Anyone can volunteer with CMHFH, regardless of past experience in construction. If you’ve never touched a hammer before, our Construction Superintendents or Lead Volunteers will be available onsite to teach you everything you need to know for that day’s project.
Affordable housing isn’t a problem in America.
Fact: Within the US, there is no state where a full-time, minimum-wage job will pay for a median one-bedroom apartment. In Minnesota, 1 in 4 households spend over 30% of their income on housing. According to the 2023 Minnesota State Housing Profile, over 590,530 Minnesotans are cost-burdened or at risk of having to give up essentials (food, water, healthcare, etc.) to afford housing.
Habitat for Humanity gives homes to the homeless.
Fact: In order to qualify for a home with CMHFH, potential homebuyers need to meet a series of requirements. One of the requirements is that applicants must have steady income that is between 35% and 60% of the Area Media Income (updated by HUD each year). This requirement helps set up homebuyers for long-term success as they purchase and move into their new homes.