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NAACP, Habitat partner in ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ to build homes

GULFPORT, Miss. (Feb. 6, 2006) – Habitat for Humanity International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are partnering in a project – “Love Thy Neighbor” – that will build at least 25 new homes – and perhaps as many as 100 – with families affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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“Love Thy Neighbor:” An NAACP and Habitat Partnership

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The collaboration was announced Monday, Feb. 6, as volunteers from the NAACP and Habitat joined NAACP President and CEO Bruce Gordon and Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford in north Gulfport to raise walls on the first Habitat house to be built along the Mississippi coast after Katrina roared ashore in late August of 2005.

“Habitat and the NAACP have such similar values and principles, that this is a natural partnership,” said Reckford. “Both are committed to giving people a hand up, to social justice issues, to ensuring that everyone has equal access and opportunity, whether it is to housing or anything else.”

Reckford also pointed to the strength of union, to the importance of building a bridge between the two organizations as reason to celebrate the collaboration.

“The NAACP Habitat partnership will play an integral role in the resurrection of these devastated communities,” Gordon added. “I am excited to be partnering with an organization that has done so much to provide decent affordable housing for families throughout the world.

“From the time Katrina struck, the NAACP’s goal has been to extend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in their time of need. This is part of our effort to give the survivors hope and to help restore their sense of dignity and well-being.”

Twenty of the homes will be built in Gulfport, and five homes will be built in Houston, Texas, with families that have relocated to that city following the hurricanes.

The announcement is also the beginning of what Gordon and Reckford are counting on being a long-term relationship between the global nonprofit homebuilder and the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, not only in the hurricane-affected areas, but nationally and other opportunities where both organizations can partner to strengthen communities.

Through Jan. 31, Habitat’s Operation Home Delivery had built five homes and had work under way on 62 more. An additional 39 homes are under construction with hurricane-displaced families in Houston. Much of Operation Home Delivery’s early work has focused on acquiring buildable land, and, to date, property for nearly 500 houses has been purchased. Habitat expects to build at least 1,000 homes with hurricane-affected families by mid-summer 2007.

About the NAACP
Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.  Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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. www.habitat.org.