Donate a Car…Build a Home

Maybe you’d love to donate some of your time to Habitat for Humanity because you believe in the work they do, building affordable homes for low-income families, but you don’t have enough time to spare. On the other hand, maybe you have a used vehicle that you need to part with. In that case, both you and Habitat for Humanity are in luck.

Their national “Cars for Homes” program has created a win-win situation, with Habitat for Humanity able to accept donations of cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, RVs and other vehicles. They then sell the vehicles through automobile auctions, recyclers or salvage yards to raise money that helps in the construction of homes, said Maureen Clary, executive director of Habitat for Humanity St. Tammany West.

Funds generated from the sale of the vehicles benefits the local Habitat where the donation is made. The Cars for Homes program began in fall 2003 in the Seattle area, and since that time the sales have raised over $10.5 million dollars for families in need.

“We have always had individuals donate cars, boats and RVs,” Clary said. “However, our affiliate would have to handle the pickup, do the title transfer, and attempt to resell the donated items locally. This program makes it much easier on both the donor and HFHSTW as the recipient.”

Since Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit organization, it may be possible for donors to claim deductions on their income tax returns, if they itemize. In general, donors can deduct the fair market value of any car up to $499. If it sells for more than $500, the full price can be deducted.

The kicker is, “The tax deduction is often more than what they could sell the vehicle for,” Clary said, “and they know that their donation will go towards eliminating substandard housing in local communities.