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Realtors raise over $1.5 million for Habitat tsunami effort

Realtors raise over $1.5 million for Habitat tsunami effort

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 15, 2005)—The National Association of Realtors, which launched a fund-raising effort Jan. 4, to raise $1 million for Habitat for Humanity International’s tsunami rebuild efforts, has exceeded its goal collecting more than $1.5 million in contributions from Realtors and state and local associations.

The organization presented Habitat for Humanity with a check for $1.572,783 at a press conference at NAR’s new Washington, D.C., office building. The contribution included $50,000 donated by NAR to start the project. Funds will be used to build “Realtor Villages” for families displaced during the Dec. 26 tsunami that devastated the Indian Ocean basin.

“The magnitude of personal suffering caused by the tsunami, in number of deaths and injuries to people, and destruction of homes and property, is astounding,” said NAR President Al Mansell, CEO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Salt Lake City. “NAR feels that since our mission is housing, it would be appropriate to assist tsunami victims by providing them shelter. We have an ongoing relationship with Habitat for Humanity and we are impressed with how extremely efficient the organization has been in getting donated dollars to people in need.”

NAR launched an organization-wide effort after learning of Habitat’s efforts to build transitional housing for victims living in deplorable camps. In just days after the disaster, the Realtors pledged to help Habitat raise the initial $25 million goal it set to house 25,000 families over the next two years. Overwhelming response from Realtors sparked the idea to establish Realtor Villages, which will be composed of permanent housing units that, in some cases, will be built on the foundation of previous homes. Each “core unit” will comprise one room and a veranda under a roof, plus sanitary facilities and will be expandable into larger homes following the initial building phase. At least 1,000 housing units will be built in India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Sumatra area of Indonesia.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment by the Realtors who initiated this effort only a couple of months ago,” said Tom Jones, managing director of the Washington Habitat for Humanity office. “We are both humbled and inspired by their rapid response and their generous level of giving.”

All of the administrative costs of the conducting the Realtor Tsunami Relief Project are being absorbed by NAR; 100 percent of all donations are going directly to Habitat for Humanity International for construction of the Realtor Villages.

About The National Association of Realtors
The National Association of Realtors, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing one million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Information about NAR is available at
www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the Web site’s “News Media” section in the NAR Media Center.

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical 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.
www.habitat.org