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Southern Tip of India To Be Site For Habitat’s 200,001st House * * * * Choice Highlights Global Need For Decent Housing

July 25, 2005

BANGKOK, 25th July 2005. Habitat for Humanity is set to dedicate its 200,000th house in the USA and, 24 minutes later, the 200,001st house will be dedicated in India.

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A milestone: fisherman Michel, the 200,001st Habitat home partner

Keys will be handed over to Koffi Kouassi and Tonya Harper and their family in Knoxville, Tennessee, the site of the 200,000th house, and, 24 minutes later, to Michel and his family in Kuttapuly, in Kanyakumari, in Tamil Nadu, on the southern tip of India. Habitat completes a home somewhere in the world every 24 minutes. (India is nine-and-a-half hours ahead of US Central Standard Time.)

The events, scheduled for 15th August, will celebrate the global housing ministry’s partnership with families and the provision of simple, decent, affordable housing for more than one million people.

It took Habitat 24 years to complete its first 100,000 homes; this second 100,000 were completed in less five years. The August events mark the culmination of the Habitat’s More Than Houses campaign, an ambitious program to carry its work into 100 countries and to raise US$500 million to build 100,000 houses in five years.

“While we celebrate this accomplishment, our work is not done,” said Steve Weir, Habitat’s vice president for the Asia-Pacific region. “The choice of India for the 200,001st house highlights the great global need for proper housing.”

In India, Michel (pronounced “Michael” and also his family name), his wife Vivitha and their five children will live in the 200,001st house. Michel is a fisherman, like almost all the men of Kuttapuly. Vivatha makes a little extra money for the family by rolling cigarettes. Their old house was one of many in their coastal village that was damaged by last December’s tsunami.

Habitat volunteer First Builders, along with villagers, repaired and renovated 105 houses in Kuttapuly. But Michelโs, because it was not structurally sound, has been partially demolished and will be “retrofitted” with new materials.

Since beginning its work in India in 1983, Habitat for Humanity has build houses with more than 11,000 families.

The Knoxville family, Kouassi and Harper are the future homeowners chosen for the 200,000th house. Kouassi, a cook, is a native of the Ivory Coast; Harper is an assistant manager at a store. They have five children.

Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing throughout the world for more information visit www.habitat.org .