Local News

Some Habitat Families May See Eviction Notices By Weekend

Posted March 2, 2004 4:38 a.m. EST

— Several families said their dreams of owning a Habitat for Humanity home ended with a letter telling them to get out. Habitat officials said the families did not hold up to their end of the bargain.

Shayla Bowen's home was part of the "Builder's Blitz" for

Habitat For Humanity Of Wake County

. The idea was to build 24 homes in five days.

"It was a blessing. It was a blessing," Bowen said.

Now, Bowen said that dream is a bust.

"Basically, it was, 'Leave the keys on the counter and be out by March 6,'" Bowen said.

Instead of closing on a house, Habitat wants Bowen and some other families to voluntarily move out by Saturday or face eviction. Greg Kirkpatrick, executive director for Habitat For Humanity, said he blames the issues on the families' emerging credit problems and a failure to meet "basic requirements," such as not putting in enough "sweat equity" hours.

"We're stewards of the community's trust. We can't just give these houses away. These are houses that are earned by the sweat of these people. That's the deal with Habitat," he said. "It's really unfortunate."

During the Builder's Blitz effort, there was an effort to get the families into homes by Christmastime. Some families became renters while Habitat officials continued to process their information.

"These homes were built in five days. It normally takes six months," Kirkpatrick said. "We're working alongside them getting to know them. We are working through any unresolved credit issues."

Bowen said she is willing to do what it takes.

"You know I want my house. I'm going to work to keep it," Bowen said.

Habitat for Humanity said it will work with the families until they have other places to live, but it may be too late for the families to actually keep their homes..

Kirkpatrick said this is the first time in his six years that any family was asked to move out of a home before closing. He said Habitat will have to draw up a lease agreement for these kinds of situations in the future.