• Report: #315488

Complaint Review: Habitat For Humanity

  • Submitted: Thu, March 06, 2008
  • Updated: Wed, June 22, 2011

  • Reported By:Monroe Michigan
Habitat For Humanity
840 LaPlaisance Monroe, Michigan U.S.A.

HFH - Habitat For Humanity Monroe County Not a hand up but, a slap in the face! Monroe Michigan

*Consumer Comment: un sure of what to do and how to handle

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Habitat victims need to go to court!

*Consumer Comment: You are not alone

*Consumer Comment: Actually your luckey

*Consumer Suggestion: why not go public

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After reading a few posts on here about HFH i wanted to tell my experience with this organization.

In the summer of 2003 my family was urged by a friend who lives in New Jersey to find a local Habitat for Humanity office and apply for a home! After going to our counties HFH website I decided to give it a try. We were living in a small mobile home in a nice town in this county. The mobile home needed some repairs but was not in that bad of shape. Our problem was space. We had 4 children and they were crammed in this small mobile home. We applied for the HFH home in August of 2003 and were notified in January of 2004 that we had been selected for a home. Our home was built in August 2004 during a blitz where 3 other HFH were built.

Our home was built in a very economically poor neighborhood filled with drug dealers, prostitutes, vagrants and child molesters. When we were notified of being chosen we were told to drive by our home site and see if we would like to live here. Now some back ground my husband has lived in Monroe County his whole life but not in this city and had little knowledge of this city because the city he lived in it was closer to go to Ohio (Toledo) to shop, get gas, etc. I had only lived in Monroe County for 2 yrs in the area where my husband was raised. I had no knowledge of the city of Monroe. When we drove by we saw that the some of the houses were run down but didn't think alot of it. How could we know what we were getting into after driving by in January. we would soon learn that January and June in this neighborhood were very different.

I realized we had made a horrible mistake on the day we moved in. my family and I were eating our first meal outside at our new picnic table. When a car pulled up and a man got out squatted down as not to be seen and began talking to us. He told us he was from Michigan State Police and was part of their drug enforcement and asked if they could place cameras in our home. I enquired as to why? He told me that my neighbors were well know drug dealers. I was horrified. What had i gotten myself into. myself and another woman who Habitat built a house for the same year questioned the Director at a meeting about the neighborhood . Her response was I would never put you guys in a place i wouldn't live in myself.

I fought the effects of the neighborhood daily. I had 3 boys who i feared would be influenced. I didn't sit around and watch the activity around me I did all I could to change the area. Joined groups, chased drug dealers off my property,neighborhood watch anything i could do. And I made sure my house was always looked great as to be an assest to the neighborhood. Alot of the older people in the neighborhood praised what I did. But it was a losing battle. My house was vandalized. One of my children were beaten up several times one time so bad he had to be rushed to the hospital. My home was broken into. I had death threats. I ended up with an anxiety disorder on meds I was a mess.

I got no support from HFH just that no one else seemed to have problems. Finally, I went and spoke to other HFH owners and found it wasn't all sunshine like was portrayed by the HFH director. Many of them wanted out but couldnt they were stuck couldn't afford to live anywhere else etc.

Finally I gave up. we sold our home back to HFH in September of 2007, and that was a nightmare also. The only money we got back was the principal amount paid for the years we lived there. We had put thousands in upgrades and they paid us for none of it. Central air, wood flooring, Fence, landscaping etc. They gave us no option kind of take it or leave it.

So we took it and at closing the Director sat there with this cold look on her face that I have seen all too often from her she had a board member with her. He asked about why we were selling back I explain and he looks all confused at her and says I wasn't made aware of any of that . She in so many words said we didnt try to fit in. I was so mad! At the closing yet another shocker. they only gave us a portion of our money holding back several thousand until we vacated which was to be in 10 days. They convinced us this was standard.

10 days later we vacated gave the keys to HFH and awaited the return of the rest of our money. It never came instead we got a letter telling us they were not returning our money and an itemized list of things that they say totaled the full amount due to us. as we read the charges we were furious. several hundred dollars for dirt to fill in small area where there was a hole. The dirt to this day sits in the driveway of this home most unused. They charged us for taking our dishwasher we payed for, we were charged for a dumpster funny there was nothing left in the house and only left over shingles left in the shed that they put there during out build.

I found out later from a HFH homeowner that the dumpster was taken to her home for her to use for trash she had piled up. We were charged for a repair to a latch on the gate (we put up and payed for and were never compensated for). They power washed our sidewalks and charged us for it (what a joke) our sidewalks were new and cleaner then most of the neighborhood. The list goes on and on. Needless to say we never saw a penny of what was left.

We are hurt that a organization who prides itself on its christian views would treat us in such a manner. We were very active in this chapter after our house was built both my husband and I joined committees, spoke at fundraisers I was a family partner for 3 yrs etc. oddly enough other then one other homeowner out of dozens we were the only ones who did volunteer. Which I found strange until I got to know the people at this specific chapter.

I am not in anyway against what HFH does. I believe that in most chapters they do give people a hand up. I have worked with other chapters in the past and have not encountered what I did at the Monroe Chapter. They are more concerned with the number of houses built they can achieve then the safety and well being of the people they are placing in these bad areas.

So in closing my experience with HFH Monroe Chapter was NOT " a hand up but, a slap in the face instead!

Monroe, Michigan

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/06/2008 07:20 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Habitat-For-Humanity/Monroe-Michigan-48161/HFH-Habitat-For-Humanity-Monroe-County-Not-a-hand-up-but-a-slap-in-the-face-Monroe-Mic-315488. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

un sure of what to do and how to handle

AUTHOR: frustraighted!!! - (USA)

 I am a home owner with what is becoming a huge issue to the point where my therapist is the one that suggested me to look on here. It has recently been suggested by another organization that I speak to someone at legal sevices. I am a single mom with ALOT going on. I was went through 3 yrs waiting for a home, in 2007 I got my home that I LOVE. Towards the end of 2008 I injured mu back and am now disabled. HFH did work with me while waiting to figure out what would happen with my case. I made a lump sum payment which would take care of my payments for around 3 1/2 yrs. Two yrs in and you could no longer make your payments locally you had to send them to Lansing. After that happened I kept recovering letters stating my mortgage was going up due to late escrow payments ...my money was there!!! Every so many months I had to deal with the local area and Lansing to take care of this. In 2012 I had to purchase a car. They run my credit report and my report showed not payment and therefore had lowered my credit report significantly which made me have to get a co signer AND took my interest rate up. The local HFH sent in a letter starting my payments were up to date ...it was too late the damage was done...I was told the problem would be taken care of. In 2013 I tried to apply for a loan. In was denied ...why...because they ran My credit and it showed I owed HFH over $14,000. They had never taken care of the problem in2012 and it continued frm there on. I once again contacted both local and Lansing and once again received a letter stating I was current, and guess what was denied the loan of course untill it would show on my credit report . Welp my report still shows payments in each yr. Here and there shows nonpayment. The other issues on top of this , is my payments were to begin in March of 2014 . Due to unforseen situations I was unable to make that moths payment. The very next month they took my payment frm $393. A month to $776 and my 2013 taxes have yet to this day to be paid. And yet on my reciciets that they began sending me every month AFTER there was non payment it states payment yr to date $4,800 .....WHAT...doesn't that mean that a payment of $4,800 was made since January and it's April and you want to charge me $776 for one months missing payment? AND my taxes ARE NOT PAID...now since 2014 they have been charging me $776 every month ..which now they keep sending letters of putting me into foreclosed and are , I feel as though I am basically being shoved into asking organizations for a bail out to bring me current on my mortage. In applying for help I have had to get copies of info. One of which were printouts of property taxes. At the court house I find out that 2011 taxes were late and the am out paid was over $2000 for just the winter taxes and 2012 winter were late . The worker that was helping said you know , they are late on a lot of home owners property taxes. Which made me wonder how many people's mortgages have gone up do to increase of escrows? Needless to say ...I am scared...I mean it's HFH! I'm a single mom frm not such a great neighborhood I am not well educated I am disabled and on a budget hense got to them for help to provide a home for my kids. I suffer frm anxiety and depression and just when I think I'm getting help frm them or the other organization I get shot down . I was denied help to pay habitat and habitats answer is to try them again and embellish my situation and or to apply to churches and other organizations. I guess I have now taken the next step that I wanted to avoid seeing as I called the number and left a message at legal services. Honestly I just want to make my house payment at the amount it was and be left alone. Unfortunely it doesn't look like that is going to happen without some type of fight. If anyone should happen to have ANY suggestions they would be MUCH APPRECIATED!

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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Habitat victims need to go to court!

AUTHOR: Critical Thinker - (United States of America)

I am sorry about your problems, but like so many other complaints against Habitat, you do not mention whether you tried to pursue recovery in court, it would seem that with the amount of money involved, you may have a case-- especially against the trumped up "charges".

I volunteered for a year with a habitat affiliate and quit out of disgust at their poor operations and predatory behavior toward homeowners and volunteers.  A culture exists of their christian roots putting them above criticism or responsibility. 

People need to consistently fight Habitat for their rights, they ride on the good will produced over the years by the International umbrella organization and drive down the value of the good work that many well run affiliates do.

Again, victims need to speak to an attorney and find redress in the courts, which then become public record for everyone to see, Habitat has no right to get away with treating people the way they do.  It has become standard practice among many affiliates to be taciturn, obstructionist and anti-professional thinking, again, that their righteous mission gives them a pass.
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#3 Consumer Comment

You are not alone


I was an HFH homeowner. My house was also built in a bad neighborhood, although I didn't know it at the time. Habitat's rationale is that building new homes in a troubled neighborhood will increase property values and somehow magically improve the neighborhood. It did not happen in my case. Like you, I participated in community groups and went out and spoke to folks in the community. I planted flowers and made my place look attractive. Like you, my house was vandalized. There was a boy who lived nearby who would try to instigate my son by calling him names and mocking him, but my son wouldn't give in. He has always been a big boy, so I didn't worry about him in that regard. When I sold my house, HFH also took thousands of dollars and managed to justify it. I did not even fight the issue, I was just happy to take what I had from the sale and be on my way. I drove by my old house a few months later and saw that my former neighbor (also in an HFH house) had moved out as well.

I am sorry for what happened to your son. You were trying to make a better life for yourselves and instead he got hurt, and you became sick. Be assured that it is not just your chapter of HFH that has this issue. I have known quite a few people in this area who have moved out of their homes.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Actually your luckey

AUTHOR: Gerry - (U.S.A.)

Because of the nature of my work, I'm familiar with ghetto, drug areas. As a middle aged white male, I had to learn the rules. Yep like it or not there are dos and don'ts when moving in those areas! Its commonly called Street Sense

I don't know your race, but if you are white and moved into one of these areas you immediately became a target! No matter how some people act like they like you, trust me, your not wanted there. And no matter what race you are, The stupidest thing was let the Police use your home! At that point you became a threat! You were messing with the drug dealers business! And doing so you put your children at risk.

Ill bet when your child was beaten, they were sending You a message. You are in fact lucky. The first rule is: Mind your business! At any rate im glad your kids are ok and you got out of that environment ,before it destroyed your children. As far as HFH goes. Anytime you accept help from these type outfits, they own you. And they will treat you as such. I see a lot of these type homes sprouting up in the worst areas of the city.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

why not go public

AUTHOR: Nancy - (U.S.A.)

why not go public and contact the newspapers and the TV stations. Let the National office know about it. They get away with it because noone makes any noise. MAke some noise.
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