You can watch our Volunteer Orientation in English or our Volunteer Orientation in Spanish (UNDER CONSTRUCTION).
Remember to take the required Volunteer Safety Training Quiz in English or our Volunteer Safety Training Quiz in Spanish (UNDER CONSTRUCTION).
About Austin Habitat for Humanity
Austin Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build strong, stable, and self-reliant communities. Founded in 1985 by a small, committed group of volunteers, we completed our first home in 1987 and since have completed more than 530 homes in Central Texas.
Austin Habitat was founded to serve the affordable housing needs of Central Texas, leading us to have a multi-faceted approach to serving the community. We build homes for hardworking families; repair homes for existing homeowners; educate the community through our HUD-approved housing counseling program, and operate the nation’s first ReStore – a nonprofit home improvement store and recycling initiative that helps fund Austin Habitat programs.
Learn More About Austin Habitat
On-Site with Austin Habitat
On your project day, please arrive by 7:45 a.m. dressed appropriately, prepared for the weather, and ready to work! Our workdays run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Shifts, early departures, and late arrivals break the momentum of a project, so we ask all our volunteers to commit to a full workday.
Worksite locations, workdays, and assignments are subject to change due to the unpredictable nature of volunteer construction work. Your patience and cooperation are appreciated so that we can ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for all.
Volunteers under the age of 18 must have a waiver of liability that has been signed by their parent or legal guardian.
Volunteers are asked to park one block away from the construction site they have been assigned to. Please use a good neighbor policy and do not park in front of anyone’s mailbox.
What to wear: Closed-toed shoes or boots are required. Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty are strongly encouraged. Light-colored, cotton clothing and a hat are recommended for summer. Layered clothing is recommended for the winter. Jewelry is not allowed because it can get lost or damaged very easily.
What to bring: A plastic drink cup or reusable water bottle is required. We also ask that volunteers bring their own snacks or lunch. Volunteers are asked to bring their own lunch or pick up food during the scheduled lunch break to eat on-site. We strongly encourage all volunteers to eat their lunch on-site in order to keep the project momentum going. If you are with a group, check with your team leader to see if lunch is being catered. Finally, do not bring a bag, pets, or children. No smoking, drugs, or alcohol are permitted on the worksite.
During your volunteer day, a site lead from our staff will be responsible for the construction site. You will also work with our volunteer services team to coordinate your day and check-in. Finally, you will also work with some of our regular volunteers (REGS) that work with us on a consistent basis and assist with specific tasks.
Volunteer Day Schedule
7:45 a.m. – Arrive on site to check-in
8:00 a.m. – Your volunteer day begins! The site lead will orient you to an Austin Habitat construction site and review safety procedures. From there, you’ll be split into groups to accomplish various tasks.
11:30 a.m. – Break for lunch
3:30 p.m. – Begin site clean up
4:00 p.m. – End of your volunteer day
Construction Site Safety
Safety is everyone’s responsibility and concern on a job site. Please remember to be conscious of your safety and the safety of others throughout your volunteer day. Site supervisors will instruct each volunteer about the correct and proper procedures to follow while on-site and while handling construction equipment.
First aid kits are available on the construction site. Site hosts and site leads are familiar with safety and first aid procedures in case of emergency.
Proper Safety Equipment
- Hard hats are to be worn when any overhead work is in progress or when instructed by a supervisor.
- A worker must wear protective glasses any time he or she is operating power tools or when instructed by a supervisor.
- Earplugs must be worn when using a power tool for a prolonged period of time or when instructed by a supervisor.
Power Tools and Other Electrical Equipment
Never lower or carry a power tool by its cord. Check power tools for defective switches, cords, plugs, and proper grounding. Do not use defective power tools; these should be reported to a supervisor immediately. If you feel uncomfortable using a power tool or do not know how to use it properly, please ask for help.
Always select the correct type and size of tool for your work, and be sure it is sharp and properly adjusted. Guard against using any tool if the handle is loose or if it is in poor condition. Dull tools are hazardous to use because excessive force must be used to make them work and may cause an injury. When you are using tools, hold them correctly. Be careful where you set your tools down. Never leave a tool on a ladder because it might fall on someone’s head. If you have questions about the use or condition of a tool, please ask for help.
- Don’t bind the blade of any saw. Always have one end of the piece you are cutting free to fall. If a saw blade binds, the saw will kick back toward the operator.
- Keep the blade guards working. A spring-activated blade guard can often become bent and won’t slide quickly. Never lay the guard back out of the way or use a saw without a guard.
- Support what you are working on properly. Never attempt to cut something that could slip or fall and cause the saw to slip.
- An extension ladder should reach 3 feet above the work level. Move your ladder with the work. If while you are working, both of your shoulders are extended outside the ladder, you are reaching too far. For every four feet of height, move the bottom of the ladder one foot away from the wall.
- Place your ladder on solid footing. Never use an aluminum ladder in the vicinity of the electrical lines, and never use a ladder outdoors during inclement weather or on a windy day.
Clean Work Site
Clean up all rubbish and scrap materials on a daily basis. Do not permit blocks of wood, nails, boxes, empty cans, pipe, wire, or other material to accumulate on the worksite. Never leave a worksite unguarded unless all tools and materials have been properly secured. To protect tools not being used, place them in chests or toolboxes.
If you see a situation that is unsafe, either take care of it yourself or tell a supervisor immediately.
Emergency Medical Care
If someone is injured on the job, immediately contact your supervisor and summon any necessary medical help. You could also use the supplies located in the first aid kit to stabilize the injury as much as possible until medical help arrives. The sign-in book contains accident forms which MUST be completed if medical treatment is necessary.
Have a question that isn’t answered here? Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions. If your question isn’t there, please reach out to our volunteer services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping us to build strong, stable, and self-reliant communities. Together, we can build a better Central Texas!