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Partnership to help Habitat for Humanity’s work in Vietnam

Habitat for Humanity signs agreement that will boost homebuilding presence in Vietnam

DANANG, Vietnam, March 31, 2004 – For the first time, Habitat for Humanity International is teaming up with a government partner in the Asia-Pacific region to work to bring safe and affordable housing to low-income families.

Habitat for Humanity signed the agreement with the People’s Committee of Danang City, in central Vietnam, to build homes for nearly 400 families over three years. The two projects reflect an investment of (U.S.) $257,000. The Danang Fatherland Front, part of a nationwide welfare organization, is also a partner.

Some 192 families in the city and a similar number in the outlying rural district of Hoa Vang are expected to benefit. The homes, which will cost (U.S.) $750 each, will be built with cement and bricks, and feature galvanized iron roofing sheets and concrete floors.

The agreement marks a significant scaling up of Habitat’s activities in Vietnam. To date, Habitat has built 19 houses with three more planned under a pilot program coordinated through the World Concern organization.

Habitat will build the homes using its “Save & Build” approach, which brings together low-income families in a community to form savings groups. The groups, usually 10 to 12 families strong, save money and materials together.

When a group has sufficient savings to build one house, Habitat normally provides matching loans to build two more, and construction on the three houses begins. In Danang, the Fatherland Front has agreed to supplement the savings of each participating family with a (Vietnamese dollars) 2 million grant. Construction and saving continue until all group families are housed.

A cycle normally takes about two years. After the group has built all their houses, they continue to save and pay off their outstanding no-profit, no-interest loans to Habitat. The repaid money becomes part of a revolving fund to assist further “Save & Build” groups. Habitat for Humanity International is contributing (U.S.) $100,000 to each project through grants.

“This agreement with Danang people’s committee and the Fatherland Front is the first of its kind in Asia-Pacific for us,” said Steven Weir, regional vice president for Habitat for Humanity International. “We look forward to seeing the two projects changing the lives of thousands of individuals in Danang, and we hope elsewhere in Vietnam.”

Habitat for Humanity Vietnam began operating in Vietnam in January 2001 through its partnership with World Concern. Habitat is currently registering in its own name with the central government in Hanoi.

Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 92 nations have built and sold more than 150,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. www.habitat.org

For more information, contact Peter Witton, HFH Asia-Pacific, + 66 6 1051767 or peterw@hfhap.org