The Habitat for Humanity Scam – Disguised as a charity.

Donation_Scam

It’s been a awhile since i posted anything, mainly because I was busy and as real life has a habit of doing, forces you to deal with it.  While I was dealing with life, I had spoken with a neighbor who asked that I sit in with a group of neighbors on the street to hear their story.   The people involved are homeowners who received their homes via Habitat for Humanity.

I’ve always thought of Habitat for Humanity as a good charity who helps people get a home, that they otherwise wouldn’t get.  And that was as a far I as I saw it.   I never went through the process they have, and didn’t dig much into how they operate. I assumed like most that this charity was good and my thoughts never went past that.

So I went and sat with the ten families on my street who “own” Habitat Homes and listened.    They have been arguing with Habitat for about a year now.   Some of them have owned their homes for four years now, some only one or two years.    Habitat has been pressuring them to sign brand new contracts forcing them to pay $100 per month for two parking spaces.

This is a problem for them.  Now after looking and speaking with them, I found out a few things.   Habitat was supposed to supply them (according to a print out from the website), that they were to provide the following:

1. 2 Parking Spaces per unit – (home owners would own these spaces)

2. Four major appliances – Fridge, Stove, Washer, and Dryer.

3. And each home would have a warranty.

4.  All maintenance on the common areas were to be cared for by habitat for humanity.
Now, these people had been told verbally that they would be freehold home owners.   In case you don’t know what freehold means, here is a legal definition of it.

An estate in land or other real property, of uncertain duration; that is,either of inheritance or which may possibly last for the life of the tenant at the least, (as distinguished from a leasehold;) and held by a free tenure, (as distinguished from copyholdor villeinage.)

Basically what it means is it is your land and not the land of someone else.   That you own it.   Which is fine and dandy to me.  If I want to buy a house as most who do, they want to own it,  So now we come to how Habitat operates.

I spent the weekend researching how they operate and with everything I read this sounded more and more like a scam, albeit a legal one.    Here is how it works:

First and foremost the target.  The criteria of the target has to be someone who is of low income.   There are many reasons for this.  The public knowledge one, everyone understands.  These low income people would never otherwise be able to afford to buy a home.   Sounds nice doesn’t it?    But what happens if there is a problem?  Another criteria is that the potential homeowner must make a certain amount of money.   If your on social assistance they won’t help you (the people who in many cases need it the most).  And they also tend of approve newcomers to Canada.  People who fled their country of origin, who don’t understand Canadian laws, and don’t understand contracts.   And the last criteria.  They must have at least one kid.  The more kids the better.

These are the people they choose. After reading almost a hundred stories online from people who dealt with Habitat, I realized this was a common theme.    Many who caught on early enough in the process before they signed their mortgages, who asked some legitimate questions, would all of a sudden find themselves “deselected” from the program and left in the dust after spending their “sweat equity” building their future home.

Those were the lucky people.

The ones who didn’t ask questions, trusted this “christian charity” and believed everything the board members would tell them and followed their instructions step by step would then find themselves with a new home, and then the nightmare begins.

Here is some background on how they operate.

When a Habitat, chooses to a group of families, they apply for government grants.  These grants can be up to $50,000 for each unit.   So in the case on my street, there are ten units.  That equals $500,000.00.  That money is supposed to go directly into building the homes.  Instead they obtain city land at a cost due to their charity status which means they get plots from old city land like community centers or schools for a cheap price, and they build on them.  They get companies like Home Depot to donate materials to build these homes.  And next they get volunteers and the families of the home owners, and the home owners themselves to put in “sweat equity” into the home.  They must do at least 500 hours into this.   In behind the scenes the homeowners are signing mortgage agreements, not with a legitimate bank, but with, you guessed it, Habitat for Humanity.

The only money I’ve found that is actually spent towards the home is the land purchase itself.   Zero money is put into the home, not in materials or labor.   And what makes matters worse is the labor is done by unskilled labor who never built a home in their life, guided by someone who allegedly has.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.  Do you think that these houses are going to be problem free new build homes?  The answer is a big no.   There will be mistakes made and problems will happen, which I will get into further down.

For the money side of things, there is another issue.   Habitat almost always uses the number $160,000 for the value of these new build homes.   The number starts around $145,000 or so and they tack on other numbers to get the $160,000 value.   In almost all cases I read, in every part of the world where people have written about their experiences, that number pops up like a red flag.     If you are reading this and don’t understand why, let me break this down.

Real Estate markets are different from city to city.   It is  impossible to have the same appraised value of any new build home, in so many parts of the world.  Some areas are depressed markets and some are inflated.   So the numbers shouldn’t be the same, but they are.  And that sends up big red flags and alarm bells for me.

So I asked myself how much of the money are they getting.  So I will list out the money.

1. $50.000 x 10 = $500,000.00

2. 10 mortgages for $160,000 = 1,600,000.00

Now the above amounts total over $2,100,000.00  approximately.  (Two Million, One Hundred Thousand dollars).  And because they are a charity, they get less taxed if at all for these numbers.

Now some costs are involved, so I in the case of my neighbors I would guess the land costs was under $400,000 if that.  Since it was a local non for profit community center selling to a charity.  So that leaves us with $1,700,000.00

That money goes directly into the charity coffers.   None of it goes into the properties themselves.

Are you seeing the problem yet?   Then we get into the home ownership deal.   When I did my research I found that in places that have a buyers market, they will buy up old run down homes at depressed values and fix them up and those go to the potential home owners.  That to me is okay.  Those are freeholds.

However, in areas where it’s a sellers market, meaning the property values are expensive and there are bidding wars going on, then they buy land, and not at full price but get it at a reduced cost and sometimes given to them by city governments.

Pure profit.

In real estate law, a lawyer cannot represent both parties.  This is a blatant conflict of interest.  The reason being is your lawyer is supposed to be working for you and your best interests.  And one cannot do that when they are working for both sides of the deal.    However, in Ontario, there is a loophole.  And that is if they give written disclosure to both parties and both parties sign a consent form to agree to the lawyer representing both parties and acknowledging the conflict and are okay with it.

This takes me into the other part on how Habitat Operates.   These low income families are unable to afford real estate lawyers of their own or find the idea daunting.  So Habitat steps in and graciously offers their lawyer to handle the paper work.  And why not?  These are trust worthy Christians aren’t they?  Working gods good deeds.   So you can trust them.

And so what happens in because the lawyer from Habitat is being paid from Habitat, the lawyer will allegedly do this “pro bono” for the low income family’s but because his time is valuable, will usher the folks into a room one by one to sign the documents, giving them less than five minutes to sign and not answer any questions or make sure they have a chance to read what they are signing.

None of these families I’ve read about nor spoken with felt that or had a lawyer work on their behalf.   When they had questions after they signed they would call this lawyer who they believed to be legit and working for them, and would ask for follow up questions on the contract or complain about disrepair would be met with the phone slamming down and a return phone call from a board member from the local Habitat Chapter, making a threat to evict them.

How can you evict someone who owns their home you ask?   Oh this is fiendish.   They own the mortgage, and they registered a condo corporation to manage the common elements of the land.  They built the homes on the land and so the homes are owned by the homeowners, (on the inside) and the outside is all owned by habitat.

In the contracts Habitat is supposed to be responsible to repair and maintain the properties,  That means, snow removal, grass trimming, maintaining the roofs of the homes etc.    There are even stipulations in these contracts that they cannot build additions etc without express permission from the condo board.

So now you have an idea on how they operate and understand a tiny bit of what happens.   If you are confused I will summerize.

1.  They get a profit of almost two million dollars plus from these homes.

2.  They don’t honor the warranties.

3. They are the land owner, bank, and condo corporation all in one.

4. They false advertise.

5. They use intimidation tactics when you try to complain.

6. They use fraudulent methods to trick desperate low income families to sign contracts.
I have you ask you, does this sound like a good christian charity?   One that you would trust?   I don’t, and I urge you not to trust them.   Save your money, hire your own lawyer, if you are trying to get your own habitat home.  Otherwise you will get fleeced.

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “The Habitat for Humanity Scam – Disguised as a charity.

  1. worked for habitat for humanity 3.5 years. After first year I noticed how this habitat treated its family partners after they moved into home. They leave them high an dry to deal with almost everything that has to do with homeownership. Ive had so many complaints from families that habitat wont answer their calls regarding repairs or just gives them the run around. 90 percent of families I’ve talked to wished they never bought a home through them. They don’t really own the home an never have a lawyer or any other then habitat employees. Don’t even want to get started with donations. I was fired due to my openiness to fight for the families rights an respect. Habitat for Humanity in Omaha treats everyone that’s not a donor like crap. Hated that place and am glad to be out of there. keep up the good work. It may been a good idea in the beginning but since then it’s all about the money. The CEO makes like almost 200,000 a year…For what???

    Like

    1. I also worked for Habitat for Humanity for 3.5 years in Nebraska as a supervisor. First year your just so into doing good work you don’t notice how everything worked beyond the construction department. I loved the job an the IDEA that we were doing people justice with affordable housing. Not till I noticed a price list of how much it cost to build did I start to question their real motives. Most these homes are in very poor areas with no house over 60k. Now the homes I was building were half the size with cheap everything inside. They were being appraised for 160k a piece. Family partners started to visit my site asking for help in repairing things in homes. I had no problem doing this till I was told we are not a social service an since they lived in home they are responsible for everything. I felt first off they are spiking these prices even though everything other then my salary was donated. Later I found out a fellow employee had a sexual harassment charge an wasn’t fired. We were forced to go through very degrading course about harassment. I felt if the company had to go through it then where were the office staff? I made a simple comment about how to handle this as in front of whole constructions department was told by HR director I was just young an dumb. Next week they took my bonus an salary away demoted me from supervisor. Degraded by HR saying I didn’t know what I was doing although I never was red taged on any homes. I felt it was because I started questioning where the funds where going an why we were not helping these families when things went wrong. They would say their mortgage went up 1k after first year. I know a lot is grey area but I felt habitat left these families. That were not from America high in dry after they signed the papers. And then I noticed a lot of americans getting turned down I asked a simple question as to why a lot of people I knew got denied. Someone in department made a comment saying international stories bring donations and that’s just how it works. I decided then I would help whatever family needed if from calling police for them or calling in replacement windows going over department to get them fixed. They warranty the whole home for 2 years after built so it was habitats responsibility to maintain a safe home. All in all I felt habitat purposely spiked the prices of homes an made funds go to god knows where with no paper trails saying it was spent on party or tools. I know habitat as a whole is a scam. their restore is a scam as well. taking donated items an selling them 75% market value off the motto it goes back into program. They make bogus claims an don’t take care of family partners. let alone put people from the area they focus into affordable homes.They force them out an put any family that will get donations into them regardless if they even know how to make it here in America. I quit after being discriminated against because I was from the area and was told I need to learn to talk better. Im from the ghetto an knew most of the areas residents. I enjoyed working around the areas I grew up in but didn’t like the way habitat just pushed them out an put other families in areas because they brought donations.

      Like

    2. Same crap is happening here in Hawaii. They built an ugly, scary condo smack in the middle of a neighborhood. The parking lot is right next to older homes and a DRUG house. How’s that! Careless and ignorant! Our daughter and family lived there an it was like a old folks home with a scary elevator ride and eerie hall way. Their truck got stolen and they were afraid to be there. Thank God they decided to leave no matter what contract habitat made with them. We expect habitat to take that ugly poorly built condo back an clear their name so they can buy a real place. What a bunch of crooks! I no longer have respect for this bunch of creeps.

      Like

  2. I agree with you 100 percent, I have a habitat house in Pensacola, FL and have found so many fraud within the paperwork that it is unreal. It is so bad that my house was not to be paid off until 2017, be when I gave information to an attorney and he shared it with habitat them call and stated that my house was paid off in April 2016 and sent me a $45 or $47 check and stated I sure receive a letter stating that the house is my because the house was never permitted, inspected, nor hooked to the City of Pensacola gravity sewer and s……………….o many falsified documents. My family and I have been living in a sick building for over 15 years and have had and developed health issues and more. I have worked hard from the age of 16 until age 53 and now I have health problems and more. Habitat for Humanity stole my America Dream for which I worked two sometimes three jobs so that I could retire and have a home paid for, but now we can not live in the house because it is contaminated, has mycobacteria, and s………..o much more going on with it.

    Like

    1. Thank you for posting. This is the same story that I found over and over again in my research. The more this information is passed on, the less people they can scam. Feel free to share the article on social media.

      Like

  3. I have had a very negative experience with Habitat’s Global Village program in conjunction with Thrivent Financials. I was so enthusiastic about this program only to realize that it is not much more than a pyramid scheme with it’s team leaders, recruitment, fees and so called membership benefits. Someone needs to write an expose about the Dark Side of Habitat. It may have started out as a wonderful idea, but has evolved into something that seems to use only the veneer of “Christian Values”.

    Like

  4. How about their resale stores?
    I thought the idea of these stores was to assist low-income people to obtain creature comforts at reasonable costs.

    I have shopped many of their “restores” and found many have a “back room” of newer (better) items that are only shown to “specific” people (Builders and people they “like”). I know this because I have had the “privilege” to enter a few of these “exclusive” rooms.

    In addition you will find a blatant pricing game on the sales floor.
    Sofas, end tables, lamps, and home furnishings are generally priced low. (The exception is collectibles and antiques which they price from referencing ebay. Some valuable items never even appear in their stores – they go directly to private buyers.)

    Low priced items are not what builders are looking for.

    Major appliances, tools, and any building supplies are higher priced. This is because builders (not needy people) can afford to purchase these items. The builders then resell them to homeowners through their business and still make a profit. So these necessities are not reaching needy people directly or at all.

    This pricing leaves most regular people out of the “game”.

    I have personally experienced Habitat declining my purchases in favor of selling to a builder. It is extremely frustrating.

    What once started as a great place to go if you needed to find something to help you in life has become too big and unaccountable. The idea was to help needy people. For most, Habitat has put so many solutions out of grasp because of the exclusive pricing and deceptive practices. (Don’t believe me? Go to a store and see the way they price items and ask the non-builder shoppers what they think.)

    I have been in retail management for years. My career has brought me clear understanding of the way stores are operated above and beyond the sales floor – where the customer never sees. I have also been involved with many local charities and charity outlets.

    The fall of the World Trade center created an outcry and demand of where all the charity money was going. We learned that most big named charities were scamming the American people. Somehow we have forgotten this lesson.

    The best charity begins at home. Someone in your neighborhood needs help. Maybe a direct neighbor. Give to them. You will know a face that was directly helped and grateful by your actions. You will SEE them smile and HEAR them thank you. You will FEEL the difference in knowing WHO you helped. (Isn’t that what community is about?)

    If you have items you want to find a home for post them on Craigslist. They have a take-away-free section. That’s GREAT charity!

    Large “charities” are always too big and costly. Most of the money rarely sees the charitable “cause”.
    Don’t just “believe” because its easy to believe that you are helping someone. The only one you are helping are those high up executives who might be running a “not-for-profit” organization but are also making a hell-of-a living doing it.

    Like

  5. Unfortunately I am a Habitat homeowner here in Mankato, MN and the story is the same here. It was like a switch flipped as soon as we moved in. I’m ashamed to endorce this company. It sickens me that I ever stood for HFH. I have to wonder even if my house is fully paid for, will it ever truly be mine? Will I ever be rid of this wretched company?

    Like

  6. I have a home from habitat too, I got in to a problem with making my payments, I got a hold of a lawyer I filled chapter 13, making two payment, well all of a sudden, my payment with habitat doubled, they said it was because I was behind in my escrow, so I was making my payments until one day I lost some hours, and missed a couple payment, next I knew i m getting papers that they are fill to take my house, since I missed my court date, I never got anything I had one, from habitat or my lawyer, so now in finding that I got 30 day to get the money I need and if I don’t I lose my house, not a care from them or help, so now I will be on the street,

    Like

  7. we are having the same problem they wont work with you if you get behind on the payment they are treating foreclose on us and i am trying to get on disability and my lawyer said i wont get a hearing till next year and by that time we will lose the house i am from Le Sueur Mn they wont work with you at all and i know there is thing wrong with this house but they wont fix it and they promise to do they dont do it

    Like

  8. and have you seen the cars and truck they drive they are not cheep at all they are all expansive car and truck one of them would be enough to pay my house off but they wont there money

    Like

  9. I’m a partner family what is said in this article IS TRUE!!
    We are living in our place now 6yrs nothing but HUGE issues Habitat doesn’t care as we are homeowners YET every year we have to provide them with out income tax assessment they ALSO use our Canadas child tax benefit as income to get our mortgage amounts for next yr we are now up to over $1700/m for mortgage (that includes apx $200 property tax) BUT I would like to work full time but I can’t as all my pay would go to them. They arnt here to HELP families like they say we can’t get out of debt because our mortgage keeps going up it’s horrible. They should NOT be allowed to use money coming in for our kids but they do. I’m trying to get a hold of someone in government to investitgate them but no ones replied to help, IF i knew what I found out when we applied I would have run the other way fast.
    IF you want to sell you HAVE to offfer back to Habitat 1st, you HAVE you use a real estate agent HABITAT wants, etc…
    We have again tons of issue from day 1 maybe the media would like to hear. We deal with the Habitat for Humanity in Toronto

    Like

  10. I spent a year picking up and soliciting donations at one out in Washington State. Everything said here is true and the problems start right at the top of the franchise and work from the inside out. From salary, to benefits, to the way they treat volunteers, all the way to the recently immigrated applicants and finally the end product.

    So in other words it’s a pseudo ponzi scheme inside of a ponzi scheme set up to benefit the upper managers and the corporate office the most. That may be true of any pyramid but the ones at the top in Habitat literally do nothing half of the day, they are always out “fund raising” or on sick leave. It is a joke…Some of the crap they pulled in the accounting office was flatout criminal and even with the mortgages, private donations, a store and zero costs other then overhead they were always in the red. I’m guessing they never get audited due to their non profit status.

    The store was unbelievably unscrupulous with unsafe conditions, employees taking dibs on donations for massive discounts, advantageous treatment of the mentally ill volunteers, and employees being screened and judged for religious affiliation and their dedication to god. The merchandise was always absurdly priced as well.

    The turnover at my location was so bad they held a day long conference at a hotel just to address people quitting by buttering them up with gifts, an outing and an all day buffet. Of course they didn’t change the way they operated afterwards.

    I could spend a whole day elaborating on their BS, this doesn’t even scratch the surface.

    Like

  11. Reblogged this on Deadly Clear and commented:
    This ought to infuriate just about everyone… How much have we all in construction DONATED to Habitat for Humanity?! Well, let me shed some light on costs to build affordable housing, especially when there is so much labor donated. Separate the materials from the labor and materials will run about $36 -$42 psf on the high side. Full on licensed labor is usually less than $65 psf. Even if nothing is donated an entire affordable home would cost less than $100 psf. The larger the floor plan the less per square foot – it decreases.

    What I found astounding, but not surprising is that Habitat for Humanity is in bed with Fannie Mae, of course…

    Like

  12. At this very moment I am in need of a good attorney to help me stop this predatory organization who has been fucking me over for the past 3 and a half years. Just because the executive director thinks am ungrateful for not eating a Hot Dog that they had offered to me now they don’t want to honor my contract so I have made a YouTube put in the name Habitat Crap and tell me if that ain’t so shit. If anyone can understand how bad I need help.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s