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Mental Health Advocates Build Habitat House With Family In Need

Fort Worth, Texas - October 31, 2001 - Habitat for Humanity International is teaming with The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) to provide a modest, affordable home for a family impacted by mental illness. “A Partnership to Open Doors” will team the world’s largest nonprofit home-building ministry and the mental health organizations as they build a house Nov. 1-17 with the Wiggins family in Fort Worth.

More than 100 volunteers, including those with physical or mental health challenges, will join Habitat’s Fort Worth-area affiliate, the NMHA, NAMI and other mental health professionals in building the first house through “A Partnership to Open Doors.” Homeowner partner Mary Wiggins and her granddaughter, Jennifer, will contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” labor on Habitat houses and will repay a no-interest mortgage loan during the next 20 years. Financial sponsors are needed to help provide building materials for the Wiggins’ house.

HFHI founder Millard Fuller will be in Fort Worth with his wife, Linda, to dedicate the Habitat house on Sunday, Nov. 18.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” Linda Fuller says. “Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to provide decent shelter for all of God’s people who are living in poor housing conditions. “A Partnership to Open Doors” is a way to create decent, affordable dwellings for families whose members are being treated for a mental illness. We want to use the partnership to bring more understanding and break down the stigma associated with mental illnesses that often get in the way of proper and readily available treatment.”

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter is chair of the 20-member steering council for “A Partnership To Open Doors.” The local affiliates of NMHA and NAMI have been involved in planning and recruiting volunteers for “A Partnership To Open Doors” and will provide support and education for the family.

The National Mental Health Association is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. With more than 340 affiliates nationwide, NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research and service. For more information about the National Mental Health Association visit www.nmha.org or call 1-800-969-NMHA.

Founded in 1979, the National Alliance or the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated solely to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses. NAMI engages in support, education, research and advocacy at the local, state and national levels. It represents a tradition of self-help, while working for increased funding for scientific research, evidence-based standards, equitable insurance practices, and greater access to treatment, employment and housing opportunities.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary year, Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,000 communities in 83 nations have built and sold more than 100,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.