Journalism in the Public Interest


Habitat for Humanity Buys Back House Built with Chinese Drywall

Habitat for Humanity has become the first builder to buy back a house built with Chinese drywall.


The "Musicians' Village," built by New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Aaron Kessler)

Habitat for Humanity has become the first builder to buy back a house built with Chinese drywall, our partners at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune report.

The decision to buy back the house came as part of the nonprofit's settlement with Brian Morgan, a classical organist who owned a house in Habitat's Musicians Village in New Orleans. Morgan sued after he discovered that his home was built with the contaminated material. So far he is the only Habitat homeowner to sue the organization.

Habitat was among the last builders to stop using Chinese drywall to build homes in the Gulf Coast. For years the organization's leaders insisted that the specific batch of drywall it used was safe, even though it came from a manufacturer whose drywall was causing problems all over the country.

It wasn't until after ProPublica and the Herald-Tribune went door-to-door and discovered that Habitat homeowners were struggling with drywall-related problems that Habitat began to fix the homes.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Tainted Drywall

Tainted Drywall: How Companies Kept Silent While Homeowners Suffered

Foul air from Chinese-made drywall has created a nightmare for thousands of homeowners.

The Story So Far

ProPublica and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune began examining in May 2010 what was—or wasn’t—being done to help people whose homes had been built with contaminated drywall. The problematic drywall, much of it imported from China, emitted foul odors and frequently caused mysterious failures of new appliances and electronics. Worse yet, some residents complained of serious respiratory problems, bloody noses, and migraines.
More »

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