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United States Congress Resolved to Build 435 Habitat Houses

The Houses That Congress Built” Gets Kickoff as New Year Begins

Washington, D.C. - May, 5 1998 - The announcement for the first of the 435 “Houses That Congress Built” was made at 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 1 when, in Pensacola, Fla., U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough and his rock band kicked off the New Year with the announcement of the Habitat for Humanity house to be built June 6. Contributions were received to begin the drive to raise funds to pay for the Habitat house.

“The House(s) That Congress Built” process began when the House of Representatives unanimously passed on May 20, 1997, a resolution introduced by Rep. Jerry Lewis of California along with Speaker Newt Gingrich, Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, and Reps. Louis Stokes, Rick Lazio, Joe Kennedy, and Eleanor Holmes Norton for the members to build two Habitat houses in 1997 in the District of Columbia and to build a house in each of the 435 congressional districts in 1998. The builds are a part of the National Homeownership Strategy, which is supported by 65 national groups who have interest in homeownership.

Presently, Habitat for Humanity affiliates have agreed to build with Members of Congress in 415 of the 435 districts (Three additional sites will be under the direction of the Housing Assistance Council). Formal agreements are being arranged between the HFH affiliate, the member of Congress, and the local representatives of the 65 national organizations to raise the resources to build the “Houses That Congress Built” during 1998.

Most of the builds will include involvement of the member of Congress on June 6 in each district as the kickoff of 1998 National Homeownership Week, June 6-13.

Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, has expressed excitement for this program in which the public, private and nonprofit sectors of society join together, led by members of the Congress, toward providing decent housing for all. “Our hope is that this effort will stand as a symbol to the whole country. Habitat for Humanity International is excited that the House of Representatives, the National Partners in Homeownership, and others are participating in the project,” said Fuller. “By picking up hammers and pounding nails, they are demonstrating their commitment to make simple decent housing a reality for all who desire and need it.”

The “Houses That Congress Built” emphasis is being coordinated in the Habitat For Humanity International Washington Office. Taryn Macier, the coordinator, can be reached at 202/628-9171(phone); 202/628-9171 (fax); (e-mail); 1511 K Street NW #605, Washington, DC 20005(mail).