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Habitat, Freddie Mac to build 51 homes on National Mall

Habitat for Humanity, Freddie Mac to build 51 homes on the National Mall to help hurricane-affected families

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 8, 2005) – The National Mall, the heart of the nation’s capital, will become a construction zone Friday, Nov. 11 through Friday, Nov. 18, as Habitat for Humanity and Freddie Mac team together to build homes that will help house families affected by hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region.

“America Builds on the National Mall” is part of a larger nationwide effort by Habitat that engages partners and communities to frame interior and exterior walls that are then shipped to the Gulf Coast region and eventually assembled into permanent housing. During the Washington build, frames for 51 homes will be completed, representing each state and the District of Columbia.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Freddie Mac to join Habitat in helping low-income families who were affected or displaced by the hurricanes. It’s a natural extension of what we do everyday: make home possible for families,” said Richard F. Syron, Freddie Mac’s chair and chief executive officer. “This build symbolizes the entire nation’s extraordinary response to the Gulf region.”

For the build, volunteers from Habitat and Freddie Mac will be joined by congressional delegations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, administration officials, celebrities and others. Progress on the project will be covered by NBC News Today show as part of its ongoing Make a Difference Today partnership with Habitat for Humanity International. NBC 4 in Washington, D.C., will also cover the week’s activities and is a sponsor of the event.

Freddie Mac, one of the nation’s largest investors in residential mortgages, is the sole corporate sponsor and will be sending several hundred employee volunteers to help frame the homes. Habitat is inviting two volunteers from the top performing affiliates in each of the 50 states to help build with their invited elected officials on the house representing their state.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this national effort with Freddie Mac to help make homeownership a reality for low-income families,” said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International. “We are also grateful to the many volunteers from across the country are making an effort to improve the lives of families in need and rebuild neighborhoods destroyed by hurricanes.”

The build will take place daily, Nov. 11-18, from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a piece of land near the Washington Monument. The site adjoins Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th streets.

The District of Columbia house, among the first to be built, will be framed, doors and windows installed, and roof trusses added, and will stand throughout the course of the build as a demonstration house. Between four and eight houses will be framed each day, with homes representing the four states affected most by hurricanes Katrina and Rita – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama – being framed the last day, Friday, Nov. 18.

Media are invited to cover the event throughout the week.

About Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned company established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac fulfills its mission by purchasing residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities, which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage-related securities and debt instruments in the capital markets. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and nearly four million renters in America.

About NBC News’ “Today”
NBC News pioneered the morning news program when it launched “Today” over 53 years ago, with Dave Garroway as host. The three-hour live broadcast provides the latest in domestic and international news, weather reports and interviews with newsmakers from the worlds of politics, business, media, entertainment and sports. After more than 48 years of the standard two-hour format, the third hour was launched in October of 2000, making “Today” the only three-hour national morning show broadcast. The program is unparalleled in its ratings dominance in the morning news arena, serving as America’s overwhelming favorite for nearly ten consecutive years.

About Habitat for Humanity International
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 one million people.