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Ga. Governor Builds, Supports Local Drive to End Poverty Housing

Georgia Governor Barnes Works at Habitat for Humanity Site; Supports Sumter County in Drive to End Poverty Housing

Americus, Ga. - September, 21 1999 - Gov. Roy Barnes will be on hand today as Sumter County, Georgia embarks on the final chapter in its vision of a community where no one must live in poverty housing.

The Georgia governor will officiate at the annual banquet of the Sumter County Initiative (SCI), a consortium of local organizations, headed by Americus-Sumter County Habitat for Humanity. SCI works to make substandard housing and homelessness socially, politically and morally unacceptable. In the seven years since its founding, SCI-member organizations have built or renovated more than 500 homes in Americus and the surrounding county.

Gov. Barnes will add more than inspiration to the occasion. He will join other volunteers at a Habitat construction site to build a home with a Sumter County family in need of a better place in which to live.

“We are honored that Governor Barnes is joining us to kick off the final home stretch for the Sumter County Initiative,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International.

SCI estimates that it will achieve its goal by September 2000. That month, President Jimmy Carter will lead a Habitat work team in building the house that ends substandard housing in Sumter County. Thirty-five houses will be built that week in Plains and Americus.

Gov. Barnes will address the SCI banquet at South Georgia Technical Institute’s gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. Earlier, he will work at a Habitat house under construction at 1428 N. Jackson in Americus.

“It’s a great day for Americus and Sumter County,” said George Peagler, chairman of SCI. “After seven years, tens of thousands of hours of volunteer labor, and millions of dollars of support from business, churches and our state and local governments, the goal of SCI is finally in sight. We will soon conclude this massive effort to correct this county’s housing deficiencies.”

Peagler emphasized, though, that the work of SCI and of Habitat’s local affiliate will not end in September 2000.

“The housing inventory of any community is constantly changing. Homes deteriorate, become abandoned and living conditions change for families.” Peagler said. “SCI will continue to provide new homes and renovations for families who find themselves living in unacceptable and unhealthy surroundings.”

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all walks of life to work together in partnership to help build houses with families in need. Habitat has built more than 80,000 houses around the world, providing some 400,000 people in more than 2,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. HFHI was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller along with his wife Linda.