Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Habitat for Humanity" ...

  • Habitat for Humanity Harsh Reality

    The News-Press investigative reporter Melanie Payne learned that Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties had foreclosed on more than 100 homes in the last decade - 10 percent of the total homes it had built for low-income families in Southwest Florida. This conflicted with Habitat's reports of a foreclosure rate of less than 2 percent. A look at the financials showed that many homes were priced at over $150,000 and some as much as $230,000, and were sold to people earning less than $20,000 a year. In addition, the CEO was paid at a rate comparable to Habitat CEOs in major metropolitan areas. She had a total compensation package of nearly $180,000 - about $50,000 more than counterparts in bigger communities. The complicated financing and the group's resistance to any mortgage modification was found to contribute to the high foreclosure. This challenged the notion of Habitat being of service to low-income residents who couldn't afford a home any other way.
  • In 2004, the Future of Affordable Housing in the Silk City was . . . SOLD!

    Paterson, N.J. mayor Jose "Joey" Torres "sold liens in blighted neighborhoods to a favored developer at a cut rate." The developer (Glen Fishman) would then foreclose on the properties and "flip them for a profit." Non-profit groups like Habitat for Humanity, which had been attempting to construct affordable housing were thus priced out of the market, or had to pay marked-up prices to Fishman for land in the tough neighborhoods.
  • Special Report: Good Works, Fast Cash. Special Report: How Much Would You Pay?

    Dixon spent three months following a chain of titles on hundreds of property deals and deeds. She found that several real-estate companies which contract with charities to evaluate and sell real estate donations on behalf of the charities are scramming the charities. Dixon found that " The company [Donate Real Estate] was selling property to associates of the founders, who then flipped, or resold the property, to buyers who paid many times the first purchase price. Those buyers then got mortgages based on inflated appraisals, didn't make their payments, and the homes went into foreclosure." The investigation unearthed a brazen and widespread real estate and mortgage fraud scheme that took advantage of novice investors.
  • Habitat: Borrowed Dreams

    This story discovers some negative outcomes within Habitat for Humanity, the popular charity that helps poor families become homeowners. The report found that Habitat's recipients were ill-prepared for home ownership. More than 40 percent of the local affiliate's homeowners filed for bankruptcy after moving into their homes, and nearly half of those who filed for bankruptcy did so multiple times. For many, Habitat's benefits, including its hallmark zero-interest mortgage, fell victim to crushing financial stresses. They found at least 40 examples of homeowners refinancing their no-interest mortgage, adding costly second mortgages or tacking criminal bail bond liens onto their homes. Desperate for cash paid at closing when taking a new home loan, homeowners paid fat fees and took on steep interest rates, some as high as 24 percent. Seventeen homeowners either lost their homes in foreclosure of deeded them to others. Some contributing factors involved Habitat for Humanity, for having inadequate front-end financial training, and a failure to protect Habitat mortgages from new lenders. Other factors stemmed from poverty in Memphis.
  • Broken Dreams

    "A four-month Unit 5 investigation found the Uptown Chapter of Habitat for Humanity broke it's promise to families who put in hours of sweat equity, met other requirements but after almost two years were not allowed to buy their homes."
  • Toxic ghosts

    The Florida Times-Union reports that "... Neighborhoods that now house thousands of people were previously dumping grounds for hazardous wastes that remain today in the soil and water at schools, subdivisions and parks." Additionally, the newspaper learned the city ignored warnings about potential health hazards, dragged its feet on cleaning the sites and donated property on the polluted grounds to the Habitat for Humanity.
  • A new house for the Hendersons

    Habitat for Humanity is an international, non-profit organization that helps low-income families build homes for themselves. This article tells the story of how the Hendersons, with help from Habitat, built a home.