Mediation Helps Habitat for Humanity and Families Being Helped Reach Settlement
Thursday, September, 3, 2020
Habitat for Humanity has reached an agreement with more than 50 families in the Edmonton area at risk for eviction after the two sides met in mediation to discuss the issue.
The mediation came after the families launched a class-action lawsuit the charitable organization. According to the group, changes made to the agreement the families had with Habitat for Humanity violated the promise to offer zero-interest mortgages. The families were at risk for eviction after a court injunction failed and a new agreement had not been signed.
But before evictions could begin after the July 31st deadline, representatives from both sides gave mediation a chance. After just two days of meetings, a resolution was reached.
According to Avnish Nanda, the lawyer representing the families, “I was representing 100 individuals who were distressed, distraught, facing some pretty serious consequences, and we managed to get it done. I think it speaks to the resiliency of the families first and foremost, and also Habitat realizing its mandate and how important the relationship is with these families.”
Habitat for Humanity is one of the best-known charities in the world. It builds homes for families that would otherwise not be able to afford a mortgage. The agreement between the charity and the families receiving homes includes a stipulation that the families commit 500 hours of labor as their down payment and live as tenants in their home for one year before receiving an offer to enter into a mortgage.
Families involved in the lawsuit entered into the agreements believing they would be extended a zero-interest mortgage offer, but instead, received a below-market offer for 50 percent of the value of their homes.
As a result of the mediation, families can now choose between the original offers, the alternative offer, or get their money back and pull out of the arrangement.