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Carter project families becoming Habitat for Humanity homeowners

Habitat for Humanity families take ownership month after Carter project




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BENTON HARBOR and DETROIT, Mich. (July 25, 2005) – Move-in day for families across Michigan will represent the reality of homeownership that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and thousands of volunteers helped make possible in June during Habitat for Humanity International’s annual signature event.

Once mortgage agreements are signed, families who helped build their own home will move in and begin making no-profit payments. These payments will help build future Habitat homes with other families in need.

“We are proud of these families and their work and we know they have improved their lives’ circumstances,” said Paul Leonard, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International. “Habitat’s newest homeowners have also blessed the lives of the many volunteers and donors who worked beside them and had the joy of seeing their smiles and tears as the homes in the Jimmy Carter Work Project were dedicated and the keys presented.”

Between June 19-24, more than 230 Habitat homes were completed across Michigan and in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, with the Carters helping to build homes in Benton Harbor and Detroit. The Carters worked alongside volunteers who helped complete the homes from the ground up in just a week’s time. To build the homes, Habitat enlisted the help of volunteers from across the United States and around the world representing churches, corporations, community groups and schools. Lowe’s, Whirlpool, Dow, Masco, Great Lakes Capital Fund, DIY and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority left a lasting impact on these communities by providing leadership, sending volunteers and serving as event-wide sponsors.

“This year’s theme, ‘Bringing Vision to Life,’ captured the spirit of this year’s Habitat for Humanity Jimmy Carter Work Project,” said Ken Bensen, president of Habitat Michigan. “It is our hope that this event made people aware that substandard housing can be overcome as communities work to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income families.”

Habitat Michigan is a member of Vision 2020, a statewide joint venture with community-based organizations whose work across the state seeks to eliminate substandard housing and build community vitality by assuring sustainable economic development and effective neighborhood governance. Vision 2020 works in Pontiac, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Antrim County, Alpena and Iron Mountain, with possible plans to expand into Detroit, Battle Creek and Benton Harbor. The organization’s goal is to expand into 20 communities by 2020 to help more neighborhoods eliminate substandard housing by using their holistic approach to improve economic and living conditions.

“As a group of community-based organizations, we help unite neighborhood leaders and give them the support to develop sustainable and healthy environments,” said Mark Jansen, executive director of Vision 2020. “As Vision 2020 grows, whole neighborhoods will be restored to create better places to live.”

President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will again join thousands of volunteers in October 2006 to help build homes in Mumbai, India (formally Bombay). The international building project will represent the 23rd year in a row the Carters have given a week of their time to help build simple, decent Habitat homes in partnership with families in need.

About Habitat for Humanity International
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 and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.