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Church World Service and Habitat for Humanity partner to repair Gulf Coast homes

04_21_2006_Church_World_Service_and_Habi

NEW YORK and AMERICUS, Ga. (April 21, 2006) – In a groundbreaking partnership for Habitat for Humanity International, the homebuilding organization will donate more than $3 million to Church World Service to help repair the homes of 500 low-income families who were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Through Habitat’s “Operation Home Delivery” program, Church World Service has received a grant of $3,038,000 to support home repair projects initiated by CWS member denominations and local long-term recovery committees. The collaboration joins Church World Service’s 60 years of experience in disaster relief and community organizing with Habitat’s expertise in making affordable housing available. The home repairs will be in coastal Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas.

“For nearly 30 years, Habitat for Humanity has been building simple, decent housing in the United States and around the world,” said Ken Meinert, senior vice president of Habitat’s Operation Home Delivery. “This partnership with Church World Service helps us to further our relationships and grassroots partnerships with local congregations and to further address the needs in the Gulf Coast by helping people return to decent, affordable homes as part of the long-term recovery. CWS and denominational members have been at the center of recovery, and we are honored to partner with them.”

Selection of low-income families for the repair program will be consistent with Habitat’s income criteria for homeowner partner families. The Church World Service partnership also helps Habitat for Humanity achieve their Operation Home Delivery goal to join with other organizations to address the large and complicated need for rebuilding hurricane-devastated areas. Habitat and Church World Service expect that 500 homes will be repaired over a two-year period.

“This collaboration is going to have a major impact where it counts most—at the community level, where people with very limited resources for recovery have had their lives upended by last year’s storms,” said Church World Service Chief Executive John McCullough. “Over the past eight months, we have been helping the people, the schools, and the churches of the Gulf Coast recover and we will continue to accompany them on the journey back to normality for as long as it takes.

“Having a partner like Habitat for Humanity, with its demonstrated commitment to faith in action, backing our efforts is very important to us. We hope this will be the beginning of an ongoing collaboration.”

Church World Service is a relief, development and refugee-assistance agency supported by 35 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations in the United States. A key feature of the agency’s disaster response is its focus on helping existing community groups establish independent, nonprofit organizations dedicated solely to filling unmet disaster-related, long-term recovery needs of vulnerable populations in their communities.

These local member organizations, with their close ties and deep commitment to the communities where they exist, will help identify homes to be repaired or rebuilt under the Habitat-CWS partnership. The partnership will provide grants for construction materials and repair assistance.

Operational support and management for the home repair initiatives will be provided by CWS’s Emergency Response Program, which has directed the agency’s extensive Gulf Coast recovery effort over the past year.

Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Home Delivery program, developed in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and working through local Habitat affiliates, includes the construction of more than 1,000 new homes by mid-2007 to help affected families in the Gulf Coast region. Through this hurricane response, Habitat also is working to serve as a catalyst that brings together organizations to address low-income housing and recovery on a scale that Habitat alone would not be able to accomplish.

About Church World Service
New York City-based Church World Service is the relief, development and refugee assistance agency of 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations in the United States. With 60 years of experience in humanitarian relief, Church World Service works with partners in 80 countries to fight hunger and poverty.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 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.