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The First Ability House

People With Disabilities to Form Habitat for Humanity Construction Crew in Alabama

Americus, Ga. - May 27, 1999 - Americans with disabilities of all kinds will become Habitat for Humanity partners May 31-June 4 in the construction of the first Ability House, a carefully designed, affordable house for an Alabama man with a disability.

“Habitat’s first Ability House will bring together partners of varying abilities to remove barriers that keep people with disabilities from owning their own homes,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “This build will send a powerful message: People with disabilities can make a house into a home.”

Volunteers on this Ability House crew may include those with widely varying disabilities: loss of mobility, epilepsy, diabetes, paralysis, depression, etc. The Ability house, conceived by Ability Magazine, is sponsored by BellSouth, BellSouth Pioneers and Target.

“Volunteerism is the backbone of every great community,” said Neal Travis, president of BellSouth in Alabama. “BellSouth was Habitat for Humanity’s first corporate sponsor, and, today, we continue to support them in building decent, safe, affordable housing for deserving people.”

This fully accessible house will be built in partnership with homeowner Chris Wright, who uses a wheelchair for mobility. Wright lost the use of his legs in 1991 after the sudden onset of a spinal cord infection. Wright has already completed 300 hours of “sweat equity” working on other Habitat projects.

“I am so thankful to all the volunteers who are coming together to help me build my first home,” Wright said. “Not only can people with disabilities have dreams come true, but we can also help others achieve their dreams.”

“For years to come, this Ability House will be a model for future accessible Habitat houses across the country,” Fuller said.

BellSouth is a $23 billion communications services company. It provides telecommunications, wireless communications, cable and digital TV, directory advertising and publishing, and Internet and data services to nearly 34 million customers in 19 countries worldwide.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Habitat brings together people with resources and people in need to build simple, decent, affordable houses. The homes are sold to those in need at no profit, through no-interest loans. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller along with his wife Linda, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 70,000 houses, providing shelter for more than 350,000 people worldwide. It has affiliates in every state of the United States and in 62 other countries around the world.