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Habitat’s 200,001st House Dedicated as a Symbol of Habitat’s Global Mission

KUTTAPULY, Aug. 15, 2005: “May this house be a blessing to you so that you may be a blessing to others,” said Steve Weir, Habitat for Humanity’s vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, as he handed over the key to the 200,001st Habitat house.

Then Michel, Vivitha and their five children, sons Steny, 13, Mikedison, 11, Selso, 9, Hyden, 1, and daughter Maglin, 5, walked into their new home in Kuttapuly, Tamil Nadu, in southern India. It was “a dream we had never expected to come true,” Vivitha said later.

Mark Crozet, Habitat’s senior vice president of resource development, told the crowd of 250 that the six houses dedicated today represented a brighter future for the families and the community that had suffered from the December 2004 tsunami. “These houses also represent Habitat’s on-going work for a future with decent housing for all,” he said.

Of the volunteers who worked alongside skilled workers and the families, Crozet said: “We came here as representatives of seven different countries and we stand here today with you, as one Habitat family committed to building homes and changing lives in Kuttapuly, throughout India, and around the world.” Six of the volunteers came from Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. On hand for the celebration was a team of Habitat volunteers from New Zealand. They are repairing houses in another village.

“I am proud of this house,” said Michel, and he cited some of the simple, but life-changing improvements. For the first time, the family has a toilet. With electricity the children can study after dark. In his dilapidated old house he worried about scorpions and snakes getting in, but not any more.

Under a canopy of fishnets garlanded with palm fronds and tinsel, about 250 neighbors and guests had walked the narrow land to stand in front of the house for the celebration.

The house was built by volunteers from seven countries, along with local skilled laborers and the homeowners.

The Kuttapuly dedication came 24 minutes after Habitat for Humanity completed its 200,000th house in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. The US house represents the one million people now living in Habitat homes they helped to build and are buying, or already have bought.

Celebrating the completion of 200,001 homes and the one million people now living in those houses marks a major milestone. Said Steve Weir: “The need for healthy, affordable housing remains great. Millions of families are still desperately hoping, working and praying for the day they, too, will have a decent place to call home.”

“There’s more work to do.”