Woman denies allegations that she rents out Habitat for Humanity home to family for profit

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Habitat For Humanity Homeowner Rents Home For Profit

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A family of seven must find a new place to live after finding out the Brevard County, Florida, home they were staying in and paying rent for is actually a Habitat for Humanity home that was built for another family. The woman who is accused of renting out the house is speaking out, denying the allegation.

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The home is in the Faith Landings community, which consists of Habitat for Humanity houses.

Officials with the organization said homeowners typically follow the rules, but renting out a home until it is paid off could cause the homeowner to go into foreclosure.

Caprassia Holmes moved into the house on Testimony Street in Melbourne about five months ago with her six children and her cousin, who has Down syndrome and was placed in Holmes’ care.

A neighbor told her several weeks ago it was a Habitat for Humanity home.

“I knew that we (were) in trouble,” Holmes said.

She said her landlord shut off the utilities, even though Holmes has receipts showing she paid the bill.

ExploreRelated: Woman accused of renting out Habitat for Humanity home denies allegation

Holmes has been paying nearly $900 a month in rent, which is double than what one resident said he pays for his similar Habitat for Humanity property.

“How do you profit off someone that tried to help you? I would think you would try to help somebody else,” Holmes said.

According to the Brevard County Tax Collector's Office, the home belongs to Betty Bray, who is speaking out after learning that she may be facing foreclosure after officials with the organization learned she was renting out the home to a family.

Bray denies allegations that she was renting out the home to Holmes, saying she was helping Holmes out with a place to live and allowed her to stay at her home for the last five months.

She said she collected money from Holmes to stay at the home, but claims it was not for double the amount she pays for her mortgage, as Holmes claimed.

Bray also said she still lives at the home, where she keeps some of her belongings, and is adamant that Holmes does not officially live there.

Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County director Diane Koenig said it’s not an open and shut case, and the organization still has to prove Bray was renting out the house -- all they need is a receipt that says Holmes paid Bray money, even a dollar, and that could be enough grounds for foreclosure.

Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County sent Bray a letter alerting her that she is in default on her mortgage agreement.

The organization does not allow owners to rent out the homes unless the mortgage is paid off. Bray must either pay the balance owed on her mortgage or transfer the property back to Habitat for Humanity.

The county property appraiser has launched an investigation as well.

Holmes, meanwhile, is looking for a new place to live for her six children and her disabled cousin.

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