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Habitat builds house in Katrina-affected community

Habitat for Humanity building house in Katrina-affected community
House pre-built on ‘Humanity Plaza’ is the first to be erected since Katrina’s landfall

SLIDELL, La. (Oct. 3, 2005) – Just days after framing 65 houses in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, in Jackson, Miss., and in Burbank, Calif., and just five weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated America’s Gulf Coast, Habitat for Humanity is rebuilding in the region with a family in need.

Walls for the house, which was built as part of Make a Difference Today, a partnership between Habitat, NBC News “Today” and Warner Music Group, were raised early today in Slidell. The home is being built with Habitat partner family Paulette Lindsey, whose mobile home was destroyed by Katrina, and her family, son Tiron Moore, 12, and daughter Tonishia Brookter, 9. Another son, Terez, 20, lives in Texas.

The home was pre-built by volunteers last week on Rockefeller Plaza, which was renamed Humanity Plaza for the week. Walls were framed and sheathed, and trusses added, and the house stood through the week for passersby as an example of the houses that Habitat will build in Katrina-affected areas as part of Operation Home Delivery.

In all, 65 homes were framed last week, 45 in Humanity Plaza, 14 in Jackson, Miss., and six in Burbank, Calif., and transported to the Gulf region where they will be rebuilt as soon as possible.

“Today, Habitat for Humanity is taking the next step in Operation Home Delivery,” said Chris Clarke, senior vice president of communications for Habitat for Humanity International. “We are excited to play a part in the recovery effort in the Gulf state region. We expect to see a steady increase in our work in the area over the next few weeks, months and years to come.”

Helping to build the home in Slidell are volunteers from Detroit Habitat for Humanity, from Whirlpool, which provides a range and refrigerator for every Habitat home, Lowe’s, and others, including Harry Connick Jr., a New Orleans native and entertainer, and spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity International’s Operation Home Delivery, the ministry’s hurricane rebuilding program; Maurice Spencer, formerly of the New Orleans Saints and founder of the Spencer Foundation; U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who represents the district; and U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La.

Twenty members of a Rome, Ga., church are expected Tuesday to help build. They will be joined Wednesday by some Care-A-Vanners, volunteers who travel in personal recreation vehicles and volunteer on Habitat work sites, then on Friday, by some Collegiate Challenge students from Rome, Ga.

Volunteers are also repairing a Habitat home that was under construction next door, but was damaged by Katrina. The goal is to get the house back on track toward speedy completion. “”It’s wonderful to see this kind of support and commitment,” said Clarke, “not only to the Lindsey family, but for another Habitat partner family in need as well.”

The house will be mostly completed this week, said Clarke, but there will be some final work to be done through the weekend and into part of next week, when building moves to Covington, La., as well, where three homes will be built.

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than one million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.