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Michigan Selected To Host Habitat For Humanity International’s Jimmy Carter Work Project

Benton Harbor and Detroit, Mich., to serve as host cities for June 2005 event

BENTON HARBOR, Mich., October 22, 2003 – Habitat for Humanity International leaders announced today that Michigan has been selected to host the 22nd annual Jimmy Carter Work Project to be held June 19-24, 2005. Former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter, along with his wife, Rosalynn, and Habitat for Humanity International Founder and President Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda, will join an estimated 3,000 volunteers from the United States and around the world in Benton Harbor and Detroit, Mich., as they build houses in partnership with families in need.

Benton Harbor and Detroit, host cities for Habitat for Humanity International’s signature building project, will construct an estimated 25-35 Habitat homes each. Opening and closing ceremonies will be held in Benton Harbor and Detroit, and both cities will serve as primary build sites for the Carters and Fullers during the project.

More than 80 Habitat for Humanity affiliates (local Habitat for Humanity organizations) throughout Michigan are expected to participate in the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2005 by building Habitat houses in their local communities. Additionally, the project will expand beyond U.S. borders as Windsor, Canada, is expected to build several homes during the week as a partner affiliate of the project.

Struggles with affordable housing are evident in communities across Michigan. There are approximately 500,000 Michigan households that earn less than 50 percent of their county’s median income, making decent, affordable housing hard to find. Of these households, almost 75 percent, or nearly 375,000 families, use more than half their income for housing, leaving little money for food, clothing, health care, transportation and other necessities.

“The answer to providing affordable housing in Michigan, and for that matter throughout the world, is not to abandon a community, but where possible to ‘rebuild’ a community,” said President Carter. “I am incredibly pleased that Michigan has agreed to host the Jimmy Carter Work Project in 2005, and I hope this project will generate optimism in people and the rejuvenation of neighborhoods that have incredible potential to contribute positively to their communities.”

Since the first Jimmy Carter Work Project in New York City in 1984, President Carter has been drawn to Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to bring hope to people and areas others have abandoned. In 2005, the Carters and HFHI will lead Michigan in a statewide effort to bring about a spirit of renewal and hope to communities and families in need.

“The state of Michigan will benefit from Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to build homes and provide much needed rehabilitation and healing to communities and families in need,” said Governor Jennifer Granholm. “We are enthusiastic about this opportunity to work in partnership with people from all over the world, and we are honored that Michigan has been selected to host Habitat’s Jimmy Carter Work Project.”

Habitat for Humanity International’s Jimmy Carter Work Project is an annual, internationally recognized event in which the former U.S. president and his wife, Rosalynn, join Habitat volunteers to build simple, decent and affordable houses in partnership with people in need. President Carter’s longstanding relationship with Habitat for Humanity began in 1984 when he donated one day of his carpentry skills and manual labor at a work site in Americus, Ga., home to Habitat’s international headquarters. Later that same year, the Carters led their first weeklong work project, renovating a six-story, 19-unit building in New York City.

“Habitat for Humanity enjoys a great presence and reputation in the state of Michigan. We are proud to have more than 80 active affiliates throughout the state and nearly 20 campus chapters at various colleges, universities and high schools, including one of the largest campus chapters in the United States at Michigan State University,” said Millard Fuller. “The Jimmy Carter Work Project provides a wonderful opportunity to continue to strengthen and build Habitat’s ministry across the state of Michigan and engage people from all walks of life to volunteer and come together to eliminate poverty housing from Michigan and the world.”

The Carters have personally worked on Habitat homes that house more than 10,000 people around the world in communities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Houston and Miami and in countries such as Hungary, the Philippines, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa. Prior to coming to Michigan, the Jimmy Carter Work Project will host an estimated 4,000 volunteers in Veracruz and Puebla, Mexico, Oct. 24-29, 2004, to build 150 homes in partnership with families in need.

Companies, organizations, churches and individuals that are interested in providing financial support and volunteering their time for the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2005 in Michigan should sign up for e-mail updates about the project.

Thank you for visiting the official Habitat for Humanity International Web site.

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