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Councilman: Habitat for Humanity Should House Brooklyn Families It Displaced

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The organization is renovating buildings in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Habitat for Humanity is renovating several buildings in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but it turns out that some they recently renovated weren’t fully vacant and an investigation by ProPublica found tenants were pushed out just before discussions began for the charity to take over the buildings. Now, a City Council Member is pushing for the organization to provide replacement housing for them, the New York Daily News reported. "The only way for Habitat to rehabilitate itself is to restore these families to at least the stability they previously enjoyed," Council Member Robert Cornegy said in a statement about the seven families who were left homeless.

Habitat-NYC hasn’t committed to anything, but CEO Karen Haycox did issue a statement. "We encourage the seven displaced families who were named in your April 1 article to contact us directly," she said. "We want to better understand their situations and help them find solutions that meet their needs. We stand ready to guide any affected residents through our application process or connect them with appropriate alternate affordable housing resources, as we do with all families who reach out to us."

In 2010, the charity received $21 million in stimulus funds for the project. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker had briefly called for a congressional investigation, but later said, in part, that "unintended consequences can occur" as Habitat does its "great work" and she will stay in touch with them.

UPDATE 4/10/2016 8:34 A.M.: Habitat-NYC CEO Karen Haycox has sent Curbed NY the following statement:

Habitat for Humanity-New York stands by our handling of the NSP2 grants that made it possible to help 105 low-income families in New York City to have an affordable place to call home. We are confident that our actions adhered to all federal grant guidelines, legal requirements and best practices. Over the last 30 years, Habitat-NYC has built a strong record of transparent and ethical operations, and we are proud of the transformational work we do all day, every day to help New York families seeking safe and affordable homeownership.

Habitat-NYC reaffirms we were unaware of any coercive tactics, and we condemn any such measures. If the former property owners took such actions, it is reprehensible. We encourage the seven displaced families who were named in your April 1 article to contact us directly. We want to better understand their situations and help them find solutions that meet their needs. We stand ready to guide any affected residents through our application process or connect them with appropriate alternate affordable housing resources, as we do with all families who reach out to us. Last year, Habitat-NYC referred more than 240 families to our colleague housing organizations for such counseling and support.

Bedford-Stuyvesant families displaced by Habitat for Humanity should receive replacement housing: Councilman [NYDN]

How Habitat for Humanity Went to Brooklyn and Poor Families Lost Their Homes [ProPublica]