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barbara fann

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MERCY CORPS
January 9, 2012

I very much admire the fact that this charity, in addition to its other merciful work, offers microloans to US fledgling businesses, such as the one described in this article: http://www.newsregister.com/article?articleTitle=acupuncturist+gets+start+with+mercy+corps%27+help--1324229737--2268-- America would be so much the better if these small loans were expanded to include small businesses in all the 50 states and NOT just those local to the corporate office in Oregon. Right now so many small businesses in America are foundering. SO MANY right here in OUR country are losing the battle for survival. Without question,the plight of so many worldwide is tragic, I DO believe, however, given the current economic status of small business owners here in the US, in the case of MICRO-BUSINESS LOANS, that charity should also be given at home - all across America. I think of my niece and her husband and their two small children, the younger of which is autistic and the elder still struggling with physical disabilities resultant from a premature birth They have worked so long and hard for 6 years to establish themselves and now struggle desperately to stay afloat ,feed clothe and provide medical care for their family, as they eke out a living and use every ounce of creativity to seek new alternative sources of revenue as they wait for the core industry for their business - the stagnant construction industry-- to rebound. These young people did so much to help the community in ay way they could in donations, community contributions and so forth during their busiest years. Now they struggle day to day with no help for the weary. I hope this agency will think on these things.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
General Member of the Public

Review from CharityNavigator
Habitat for Humanity International, Inc.
July 17, 2011

I guess it's just me being cynical, but after looking at Habitat's financials---or maybe I'm just reading it wrong. But for a charity to be sitting on $201,579,376 in assets and doing nothing with it in the face of the housing crisis is...obscene.

IS there something in the bylaws that PREVENTS your charity from stepping in, developing a program, to lend a hand to some EXISTING homeowners who are in crisis because the mortgage lending industry is taking full advantage of the low fed lending rates AND the depressed real estate market to DENY approving mortgages?

And here's another thing that keeps me from shopping in the Habitat stores.

At one time, long before the "net assets" topped $200 million, I suppose, the donations to Habitat's stores were also giving a helping hand to those whose budgets were under strain already by keeping prices on the donated material within the budget of the lower income segment.
Not so anymore.
The donated items are comp-priced by using the internet at the stores here in Charlotte, NC, and probably across the country? I don't actually know for sure, but I can't see one "district" operating outside the corporate line.
And I just realized I said CORPORATE...it just flowed into my head automatically. Uncomfortable, that.
.
The prices in the Habitat for Humanity stores here in Charlotte, NC now are above what low-income families can afford, but are "bargain priced" for the upper middle-class. Their practice of pricing via internet listings have changed the demographic of the store, and eliminated a resource for lower income families.

All things considered, Habitat for Humanity seems to have morphed into a "charity corporation" resembling those "religious corporations" that also sit on their assets like King Midas of old.

Why would a charity need to sit on $200,000,000?
How can a charity justify sitting on $200,000,000?
Any CHARITY?


The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

This charity once benefited the buying public who struggled in the lower income bracket. No longer. The Habitat stores in Charlotte, NC are going for top price now.. ..checking prices on the internet. But we "economically challenged" people can't afford those prices. So now instead of a store where a young couple, or an elderly lady on Social Security could afford a nice cabinet, or carpet, it's a store for and better heeled---middle class Rather like "two Faces of Eve" charity, if you get my drift.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Lower the salaries of the executives. Develop a program to help current homeowners by perhaps underwriting loans that banks are unwilling to write because standards now are so high Make the stores completely transparent by writing the "SOLD price" on the ticket for others to see. Why should the price be private? I'd like to KNOW what John Jones who bought all 10 of the items I needed one of paid for them. i.e. Charge cost+ 10% to builders, decorators, etc by reminding them that Habitat is a charity.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

How did you learn about this organization?

When Jimmy Carter first broke ground.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
General Member of the Public & Formerly a customer & donor to the cause.

Review from CharityNavigator