Habitat for Humanity Homes Falling Apart

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Bro. Curtis, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Bro. Curtis

    Bro. Curtis
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    ...
    Fairway Oaks was built on northern Florida wasteland by 10,000 volunteers, including Carter, in a record 17-day “blitz” organised by the charity Habitat for Humanity.
    Eight years later it is better known for cockroaches, mildew and mysterious skin rashes.
    A forthcoming legal battle over Fairway Oaks threatens the reputation of a charity envied for the calibre of its celebrity supporters, who range from Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt to Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Helena Bonham Carter.
    The case could challenge the bedrock philosophy behind Habitat for Humanity, claiming that using volunteers, rather than professional builders, is causing as many problems as it solves...



    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5439388.ece
     
  2. Jim1999

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    I don't know about the USA, but in Canada, professionals do get involved in the construction of Habitat for Humanity houses. The bulk of the work is done by volunteers. Electrical, plumbing and heating must be done under the supervision of professionals in accord with the Ontario Building Code. Each completed house is inspected by local Building Inspectors, approved and certified by the province.

    cockroaches, mildew and mysterious skin rashes.

    This can happen in any house. Lumber can be installed in wet conditions and then insulation installed with the vapour barrier applied too soon. I fear lumber comes far too wet from the lumber yards despite the fact they have stamps of certification on each piece. With pressure to complete the house, this is an easy mistake.

    Cockroach in vasion happens! The best house can experience cockroach invasion and a professional must be engaged to overcome this problem.

    Mould can cause a rash for sure, but mould can also be the fault of the occupant. It's chief promoter is dampness that gets into the wall through many areas including electrical outlets, holes in walls not repaired or joints that have separated by the house settling on location. All are remedied if cared for immediately. Cooking without ventilation is often a cause. Too many people in a sealed house can cause mould to form in walls and ceilings.

    So, all these things are preventable by the occupant, and not all the fault of using volunteer help.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Bro. Curtis

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    April Charney, a lawyer representing many of the 85 homeowners in Fairway Oaks, said she had no problems taking on Habitat for Humanity, despite its status as a “darling of liberal social activists”. She said the charity should have told people that part of the estate had been built on a rubbish dump.


    One man pulled up his floorboards to find rubbish 5ft deep under his kitchen. Other complaints include cracking walls and rotting door frames that let in rats and ants.





     
  4. windcatcher

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    This is interesting and I wonder what the outcome will be.

    Some years back I got to participate in a Habitat building project, along with my conservative Republican Congressman :). Three houses were built on side by side lots donated in the middle of a subdivision. All three were built in one day. Well.... actually the concrete slab which included the plumbing and waste lines was already done before hand. While most of the labor was organized around skilled and semiskilled, it appeared the 'bosses' overseeing each area of work were professionally skilled building contractors who were accustomed to building homes, directing people and meeting inspection criteria. Plumbing and electrical likewise had professionals on the job overseeing the workmanship. It was fascinating to see a slab at the start of the day and by the day's end, water, electricity were turned on and the grass was laid in the yard and people were moving in.

    For some reason I can't seem to get the link to pull up.... May need a computer restart. But it sounds like Fairway Oaks was built on a donated land fill........ which means the earth itself might not have been properly compacted nor covered over with sufficient depth of soil. It also sounds strange..... someone pulling up the slats of the floor in their kitchen. Generally, here in Florida, due to the humidity the foundation earth is compacted and footings dug and poured; termite treatment laid under and around the perimeter, a vapor barrier and rebar with metal screen reinforcing a concret slab; from this the footers, studs and headers are raised. The old homes might be built up off the ground with wooden floors, but most modern homes (if not all) are built on a slab which is landscaped in to drain water away..... unless its in a flood plain in which it may be built on stilts and may have a wooden deck beneath the finished floor.

    It still sounds to me like the landfill itself had not been properly compacted and sealed before turning it over to Habitat for Humanity.
     
  5. Bro. Curtis

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    I can't help but have the opinion that people who get free or discounted homes from HFH tend to not be very good stewards....

    And it does sound like not a lot of forethought & prechecking were involved.
     
  6. sag38

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    I can't help but have the opinion that people who get free or discounted homes from HFH tend to not be very good stewards....


    While you might be accused by some as being racist or insensitive for making such a comment you are probably right.
     
  7. EdSutton

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    I completely agree with Bro. Curtis about the forethought and prechecking, especially in FL, FTR. I suspect the idea for the good PR overrode any wisdom, there. HFH homes are to be found here, that do not any of have these problems, although anyone can neglect one to ruin, I would offer.

    For Information for all:

    I have lived both in FL and KY, where I was both reared and reside, now, I was reared in a small 'boxed' farm home of "five rooms and a path". I actually personally installed the running water, sink, and the kitchen cabinets which I personally had assembled and finished, plus completely reconstructed two walls, as a teenager, in which was helped some, by my mostly disabled father and younger brother of about 14, and even then we did not have any bathroom for about another 8 years. Termites were problem, to be sure, then, as the old home was built 'barely off the ground', and of 'untreated' lumber, of any sort, and in later years I actually reconstructed some of the floors, joists and walls, and joists, but not cockroaches. I doubt that I ever saw 10 cockroaches there in some 30 years, as a teenager and adult.

    We did get invaded by rats, once, when we stopped keeping any feed at the barn, when we stopped feeding cattle and hogs, however, and they invaded our small chicken house and our home, searching for something to eat. After fighting them for several months, we actually got totally rid of them in about three days, after finding out how to do it.

    PM me, and I will tell you how we completely rid a place of a rat infestation in under a week, should anyone desire to know.

    Today, we live in a modest home, today, next door. By simply emptying the trash fairly regularly then or now, we have no real problems with cockroaches. In fact, I do not recall seeing the first one in nearly 10 years, in our home my bride and I had built when we married in 1999. And I think that the one time we bought any spray, just as insurance, back then, the unused can actually rusted through. I am highly sensitive to mold, however, and actually find the outside humidity to be a far larger annoyance, than cockroaches could ever be, thus we have to be aware of mold and mildew, and I would have a dehumidifier handy, if we did not have the HVAC we do.

    That would not be the case, with the cockroaches, and termites, as well as the mold and mildew, should I still live in Florida, simply due to the difference in the climate. Every apartment I lived in there was treated on a monthly basis for pest control, and at that one would still likely see them regularly, and I kept multiple cans of bug spray on hand at all times. Million $ homes were no different in this than a small home or apartment in a poor neighborhood or a condo. Treating is a necessity, there for cockroaches, if one has food around. And if you did not treat, including preventatives, including 'tent' every 5 years or so, you got termite damage to add to the cockroaches, with conventional frame construction.

    Let's just not jump to too hasty conclusions, here.

    Ed
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    Cockroaches in Florida?

    Madness!
     
  9. Jim1999

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    I am less concerned with cockroaches or even alligators, if they claimed them, than I am about this lawsuit. The foolishness of slapping the helping hand that tried to feed them.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. gb93433

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    Who allowed them to build on that waste land?
     
  11. gb93433

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    All of that is dependent upon who does the work and who takes care of the home. I have seen terrible quality among "professionals" who were after the buck only and were not really very skilled. They had workers who had little or no skill and the painter had to cover up their bad work with caulking.

    I have volunteered on a few jobs and have led some. I was one of those volunteers. I have had extensive training over the years and have worked on some of the homes of people you see on TV. Typically the wealthy have more money and have people take care of their things. Some of the wealthy are filthy but have a maid who picks up after them. I have also seen some poor people take pride in what little they have and make most people look filthy.

    If volunteers were always a problem then we would have had some awful church problems over the years. There are some very nice churches which were built mostly by volunteers.
     
  12. Bro. Curtis

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    I am less concerned with cockroaches or even alligators, if they claimed them, than I am about this lawsuit. The foolishness of slapping the helping hand that tried to feed them.

    Cheers,

    Jim


    Well, I agree with you, there. I think there was planty of foolishness to go around.
     
  13. LeBuick

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    I'm kind of torn on this, it is kind of like blaming habitat for humanity if the property taxes don't get paid. The house was free, the least they can do it take out a loan to do the upkeep.
     
  14. EdSutton

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    Well you got the ordinary kind aka German cockroach that gets about half an inch long or so-

    And then there are the big suckers on the steroids! :laugh: :laugh:

    The wood cockroach or the Palmetto Bug (and yes, they do fly, with the flight roughly resembling a rudderless airplane), that can reach two inches long and half an inch wide!

    They actually are harmless, but lotsa' luck in trying to convince someone of that, who has just encountered their first one. :eek: :laugh:

    Ed
     
    #14 EdSutton, Jan 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2009
  15. Bro. Curtis

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    If they could take out a loan why would they need a free house ?
     
  16. LeBuick

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    With a house as collateral they can get $10K to make the fixes. Any bank would be happy to get a $10K house if they don't pay.
     
  17. EdSutton

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    If it were not for the volunteers, there are a lot of church buildings out there that many churches could never have been able to have afforded at all! :godisgood:

    And I'm not talking about fancy buildings, either, but some that are little more than concrete block buildings, especially in warmer climates.

    God bless every one of those volunteers! :thumbsup:

    Ed
     
  18. gb93433

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    They would be a meal if one wanted to try. They are known to fly into a home from the trees near a home.
     
  19. gb93433

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    My understanding is that they must work a certain number of hours. There is a family in our church who does ministry in the church and who was the recipient of a HFH home this year. It seemed like the entire church knew about it. Many people from the church and students at the university worked on that home. The work was well supervised.

    I do not know much about the family but it seems that people think well of them.

    Some friends of mine have been missionaries for about 25 years in a very poor country. It cost them about 1000.00 per year to live. Imagine coming back to the states at the age of 55 and starting new like a person out of college and having no connection to earn a living. In fact they were far behind technologically compared to us in the states.
     
    #19 gb93433, Jan 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2009
  20. billwald

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    How did they get building permits if the land didn't meet code?
     

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