Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller, fired in January from his house-building organization, has announced he is forming a new housing ministry, called Building Habitat, also in Americus, Georgia.

Fuller reportedly has raised $1 million for the group. A grand opening was scheduled for May 28.

"Building Habitat is not intended to compete with Habitat for Humanity," Fuller said in a statement. "Rather, we seek to be a companion to it and to similar organizations that are working to eliminate poverty housing.

"We will raise money to help local organizations build more houses, and we will raise awareness both about global housing needs and ways in which those needs can be met."

Fuller and his wife, Linda, were dismissed after several months of strained relationships with the Habitat board of directors (ct, April, p. 24).

Since the firing, the Fullers have sought a new way to continue their work to help needy people gain homes.

David Snell, cofounder of Habitat Partners, a group that formed to encourage the board to reconsider the dismissal, issued a statement of support for the new organization. He is now a board member of Building Habitat.

"While the Fullers and Habitat for Humanity might now be on different paths, both paths lead to the same place, the elimination of poverty housing," Snell said. "It is good for Habitat for Humanity and good for the poor that Millard has a new platform from which to preach his message of hope."

Habitat for Humanity officials said an organization with a similar name and mission might confuse donors and volunteers.

"Our brand, which is among the strongest and the most trusted in the country, is one that thousands of people have helped build over the last 29 years," spokesman Chris Clarke said. ...

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