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.
Clarke said that the organization's lawyer has stated concerns in a letter to Fuller and another officer of the new organization.
"We welcome his or anyone's involvement in trying to raise awareness of the issues of poverty housing and raising money for it," Clarke said.
"Our concern is [that] the use of the Habitat name creates confusion."
Adelle M. Banks,
Religion News Service
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CT's earlier coverage of Millard Fuller and Habitat for Humanity includes:
How to Build Homes Without Putting Up Walls | Habitat for Humanity strives to keep its Christian identitya tricky task, when everybody wants to join. (May 31, 2002)
Sidebar: Evangelism of the Hammer | How Habitat's Christian identity gets translated in Costa Rica. (May 31, 2002)
Sidebar: Keeping the Faith | How other Christian organizations stay true to their mission. (May 31, 2002)
God's Contractor | How Habitat for Humanity's Millard Fuller persuaded corporate America to do kingdom work. (June 14, 1999)
Habitat Builds 50,000th Home | Habitat for Humanity had its busiest week ever starting September 8, constructing 150 homes in 70 cities. (Oct. 26, 1998)
Building Straw Houses on a Firm Foundation | Habitat for Humanity goes low-tech with big results. (Feb. 3, 1997)
A 2002 column by Philip Yancey focused on Jimmy Carter's work with the organization.
ChristianBibleStudies.com, a Christianity Today partner, has a study based on our 2002 cover story on Habitat.
The official Website for Habitat for Humanity has extensive information on where it builds and what the organization does including a quick tour, its Christian mission, history, and profiles of Millard and Linda Fuller.
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