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Students Raising Awareness Through HABIFEST

Students Raising Awareness Through HABIFEST

AMERICUS, Ga., April 10, 2002 - Thousands of college and high school students around the country are raising the roof on poverty housing today. The nationwide awareness campaign is part of Habitat for Humanity International’s HABIFEST 2002, the first-ever day designed for students to highlight the worldwide need for simple, decent and affordable housing.

“We are excited that our young people want to get involved in helping families in their communities who are less fortunate,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “We know that with the help of today’s high school and college students, we can eliminate substandard housing from the face of the earth.”

Nearly 100 college campuses in the United States are participating in HABIFEST on April 10th. Some events scheduled include “shack-a-thons.” Students at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., SUNY at New Paltz, N.Y., Boston University and Adrian College in Adrian, Mich., will be sleeping outside in cardboard and plywood shacks to show how hundreds of millions of people around the world are forced to live every day. In addition, students at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., will be giving late-night tours of Harrisburg to show the severity of the housing and homelessness problem there. At Hope College in Holland, Mich., the students will build the frame of a house on campus, and at Mercer University in Atlanta, Ga., they will hold a gingerbread house-building contest.

Krista Padgett, Habitat Campus Chapters & Youth Program manager for the Central Atlantic Region, says that involvement with Habitat for Humanity International educates students about urban and rural poverty and empowers them to help people. “All students need to believe - absolutely - that they can make a difference,” Padgett said.

Statistics show 25 percent of the world’s population (1.5 billion people) live in substandard housing or have no housing. In the United States alone, 5.3 million households qualify as poverty housing, which includes a health or safety danger.

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.