Balancing Sustainability: An Analysis of Habitat for Humanity Affiliates in Mississippi




Doleac, Alex
Langar, Sandeep
Sulbaran, Tulio

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Non-profit organizations (NPOs) support economically disadvantaged communities by improving housing conditions and building homes, despite limited resources. With rising housing costs and poverty causing homelessness and poor housing quality, NPOs’ efforts are crucial. However, operating constraints (such as financial, policy, and others), often lead NPOs to prioritize initial costs over sustainability and environmental impacts. Therefore, this research investigated the adoption, implementation, and routinization patterns for sustainability and green efforts in Mississippi (US) by a leading NPO. The research used a two-phased combined design methodology, with the first phase involving explorative design that involved the identification of criteria that led to selecting the affiliates of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) as the unit of analysis. The selected NPO (HFH) had 38 affiliates across Mississippi, US, at the time of the study. The second phase involved a cross-sectional design, with data collected by utilizing a structured telephone survey. All collected data were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics, and thematic analysis. Twenty-five affiliates (66% response rate) participated in the study, and the results indicate that a small proportion of affiliates were actively adopting sustainability practices for projects constructed, and most were located in the southern part of the state. The research identified factors that lead to the routinization of sustainability practices, the most commonly used third-party benchmarking tools, and perceptions of NPOs towards such tools to evaluate the greenness of residential projects. Some crucial implications were identifying uneven project completion within HFH, limited adoption of green strategies, and perception of green certification as non-vital.




Sustainability 16 (4): 1609 (2024)