Monday, July 7, 2008

Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio Settles Lawsuit Against Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio settled its lawsuit against the international organization, Habitat for Humanity, agreeing to remain under the housing charity's umbrella for at least the next three years.

Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio sued the international organization in January, afraid that a new affiliate agreement being imposed on more than 1,600 U.S. chapters could give the international group the power to force local chapters to give up larger portions of their donations. The San Antonio chapter agreed to remain part of the international group for the next three years and will be exempt from any changes to the affiliate agreement, including imposition of larger fees or tithes, during that time.

Each Habitat chapter operates as an independent nonprofit raising money, organizing volunteers and selecting families for low-income housing. The homes, sold to families with no-interest loans, are mostly built by volunteers.

The chapters share the name, grant and training programs, and are asked to give 10% of their revenues to Habitat affiliates overseas. But the 10% tithe has been only a guideline, and the San Antonio affiliate historically has given about 1% to the overseas groups, allowing it to build more houses locally.

Even if the San Antonio group ends its relationship with the international group, the San Antonio group will still retain the title to all its property and assets and keep control of its donor list.

Duane Bates, a spokesman for the international organization, said it has no plans to change the existing affiliate agreement and that most affiliates have signed it.  For prior coverage of the suit, including a copy of the complaint see here.


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