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ArcelorMittal and Habitat join forces against slums in Argentina

August 31, 2011

Buenos Aires/Bratislava (September 4, 2011)—A team of 35 ArcelorMittal employees travel to the slum neighborhood of Buenos Aires to help lay the foundation of houses for the three selected families. Habitat for Humanity Argentina has started a new initiative of building simple and decent homes with the residents of the 22 de Enero neighborhood.

The 22 de Enero neighborhood is located in La Matanza municipality. It is one of the poorest areas around Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. As it lies off the main road, the area lacks proper infrastructure – public transportation and roads. It houses more than 1.1 million residents, around 22,000 people in the 22 de Enero slum alone.

The area has no proper water systems, all the water sources are underground and far away from the housing area, which makes it difficult for the residents to get water for their home needs. Most houses are made of sheet metal and cardboard. On top of that, many of them are overcrowded which leads to increased instances of violence between family members.

Eleven international employees of ArcelorMittal, from seven different countries, and 25 workers from local offices will spend one week in the 22 de Enero neighborhood. They will be laying the foundation for three new houses alongside the Habitat partner families. This is the first group of volunteers to start working on building houses in the area.

Habitat for Humanity Argentina has been working in La Matanza for 3 years in alliance with a local organization Concordia Foundation. Habitat has been helping families from the neighborhood obtain micro loans for basic improvements. Now it is starting for the first time to build simple homes.

The world’s top steelmaker has teamed up with Habitat to build and renovate hundreds of homes as well as to create a groundbreaking steel-framed model of a durable, safe and affordable home. The first examples of this partnership were unveiled last year in Moinesti, Romania, where 12 families moved into their new homes built from steel frames.

“ArcelorMittal and Habitat for Humanity have been working together since 2008. The Solidarity holidays that we are organizing with Habitat is a great opportunity for our employees to spend time in a foreign country, learn a different country, while working a s volunteer in a project to benefit our communities”, said Nathalie Rehaen, ArcelorMittal Foundation’s project manager Americas.

Over the last three years, the ArcelorMittal Foundation has helped Habitat to support over 700 families. ArcelorMittal employees were involved in volunteering at the Habitat build sites in Latin America, Africa and Europe. In addition building and renovating, the ArcelorMittal Foundation has generously supported Habitat’s reconstruction efforts in Haiti. To date, steel donated by ArcelorMittal has been used in 310 transitional shelters. There are plans to build a further 1,900 units.

About ArcelorMittal
ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel company, with operations in more than 60 countries. ArcelorMittal is the leader in all major global steel markets, including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with leading R&D and technology, as well as sizeable captive supplies of raw materials and outstanding distribution networks. The ArcelorMittal Foundation acts as a philanthropic arm of the company. Find out more at www.arcelormittal.com

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built and renovated more than 400,000 homes worldwide. In Europe and Central Asia, Habitat works in 22 countries with partners, donors and volunteers from the region. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.habitateurope.org