Opinion: A Habitat for Humanity Neighbourhood May Be Falling Apart

Eight years ago Jimmy Carter and 10,000 volunteers built Fairway Oaks in Florida. The 17 day building event was organized by Habitat for Humanity. Funded by Hollywood celebs this should have a happy ending. It doesn’t for many of those living there.

Today the homes are known for skin rashes, mildew and cockroaches. Some of those residents are in the beginning stages of a legal battle with Habitat for Humanity. That battle could taint the reputation of a charity that has provided hundreds of homes around the world for low income people. There are reports of mildew and cracking walls. Rats and roaches live in some of the homes.

The case is examining if using volunteers to build the home instead of professionals, which Habitat does, is causing more problems than it solves.

The 85 residents that reside in Fairway Oaks have no problem with taking on the charity giant. April Charney, lawyer for many of those involved in the lawsuit, says that the people who were given the homes should have been told that their houses were built over a former rubbish dump.

Judy Hall, the local development director of Habitat is dealing with about 30 complaints. She wanted it to be known though that all skilled work is carried out by professionals.

I have lived in Florida. If you do not keep up with your home the environment will do a job on it. Roaches are commonplace in the state. To keep them away one has to be diligent. yes, if their homes were built on an area that is toxic that is a crime. but in eight years if a home is not maintained in warm climates then it will start to fall apart. It’s just common sense. As one of the residents Diennal Fields, 51, says;

“It’s simple stuff: if there is mildew, don’t get a lawyer, get a bottle of bleach.”


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