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Habitat targets political conventions to highlight housing needs

Habitat targets political conventions to highlight housing needs

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2004—As the nation prepares for the presidential election, Habitat for Humanity International will use the upcoming conventions to propel affordable housing issues to the top of the political agenda.

During the Democratic National Convention, HFHI will underscore the problem of poverty housing in the United States by inviting policymakers, convention delegates and volunteers to build on single-family homes at Habitat construction site in Boston.

The volunteer build event will be held Wednesday, July 28, at 350 Blue Hill Ave., in Dorchester and is designed to highlight the nation’s housing crisis as well as underscore the need for citizens to engage in community service and volunteerism. The event will also provide legislators an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to supporting affordable housing for low-income families. A subsequent event will be held at the Republican National Convention in New York in late August.

“These Habitat builds are strategic and concerted efforts to call national attention to this country’s housing woes,” said Tom Jones, vice president, Habitat for Humanity International. “The issue of substandard housing is pervasive in America. At these events, we will leverage our brand and our influence to make sure the voice of the poor is heard and that their needs are not overlooked.”

The event and the construction of houses at both conventions are being funded by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the Dow Chemical Co. and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity is yet another way the Democrats will call attention to the need for decent and affordable housing in the United States.,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “When we lift our hammers to build on these houses, not only are we helping to build homes with families in Boston, we are reminding families across the nation that homeownership is an obtainable goal for all Americans.”

About Blue Hill Place
Following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blue Hill Place was burned during the 1968 riots and left vacant for more than 30 years. In November 2002, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Boston bought the land. The community is a rich example of urban renewal and provides a model that can be replicated around the country. The 1.2-acre Habitat site will consist of 22 single-family units, 32 off-street parking spaces, a neighborhood plaza, and a children’s playground. The project is funded by private donations and contributions of building materials and supplies totaling some $2 million.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is a Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. www.habitat.org

About the sponsors

Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress in 1970 to create a continuous flow of funds to mortgage lenders. By supplying lenders with the money to make mortgages and packaging the mortgages into marketable securities, Freddie Mac sustains a stable mortgage credit system and reduces the mortgage rates paid by homebuyers. Over the years, Freddie Mac has opened the doors for one in six homebuyers in America and two million renters. www.freddiemac.com

Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae is a New York Stock Exchange company and the largest non-bank financial services company in the world. It operates pursuant to a federal charter and is the nation’s largest source of financing for home mortgages. Fannie Mae has pledged through its “American Dream Commitment” to expand access to homeownership for millions of first-time home buyers; help raise the minority homeownership rate to at least 55 percent; make homeownership and rental housing a success for millions of families at risk of losing their homes; and expand the supply of affordable housing where it is needed most. Since 1968, Fannie Mae has provided $6 trillion of mortgage financing for more than 60 million families. www.fanniemae.com

The Dow Chemical Co.
As a leading science and technology company that employs 46,000 people, Dow serves customers in more than 180 countries. Dow and Habitat have worked together since the early 1980’s to eliminate substandard housing. Dow is a Lifetime Cornerstone Society member, contributing $6 million of STYROFOAM insulation for 25,000 North American homes and $2 million for house sponsorships globally through 2005. Dow believes in Habitat’s mission of providing a “hand up, not a hand out” and continues to provide work teams to build alongside Habitat families worldwide.

Mortgage Bankers Association
The Mortgage Bankers Association is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 400,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation’s residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership prospects through increased affordability; and to extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters excellence and technical know-how among real estate finance professionals through a wide range of educational programs and technical publications. Its membership of approximately 2,700 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, life insurance companies and others in the mortgage lending field. www.mortgagebankers.org

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Boston
Established in 1987, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Boston has built or renovated 65 homes with families in need. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Boston is a Christian-based non-profit organization dedicated to building decent, affordable homes in partnership with low-income families. Currently, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Boston is building homes in South Boston and Blue Hill Place in Dorchester. www.habitatboston.com