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Habitat for Humanity and The Salvation Army partner to accelerate rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast

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AMERICUS, Ga. (May 4, 2006) – Habitat for Humanity International and The Salvation Army are partnering to accelerate long-term recovery efforts along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. The collaboration will address two critical needs – capacity and affordability. It will involve homeownership grants and counseling services, construction of facilities to house volunteers traveling to the region and new partner family selection support.

“This partnership will help even more families, who, months after the devastating hurricanes, continue to struggle to recover some sense of security and normalcy in their lives,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International. “We are proud to partner with another faith-driven organization in this effort to make a difference that will help sustain many families working in earnest to rebuild their communities and lives.

“This sort of partnership is precisely what we hoped to see happening in the Gulf,” added Reckford. “Organizations working together can have a far greater impact than any one group alone could hope to achieve. Working with The Salvation Army will be an honor and a blessing for Habitat; most importantly, it will be a blessing for hurricane-affected families still desperately in need of help.”

The Salvation Army will offer at least 1,000 mortgage-assistance grants of up to $10,000 each for new Habitat homeowners who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. The grants also will include pre-mortgage and homeownership counseling through Habitat for Humanity and the Army. This mortgage assistance will help to put homeownership within the reach of many who would never have had the opportunity to live in a safe, simple and decent home of their own.

To accommodate thousands of volunteers traveling to the Gulf Coast to work in the recovery process, Habitat and The Salvation Army are constructing a Volunteer Village. The village will be in Biloxi, Miss., and serve as a central staging point for volunteers building Habitat homes and doing other recovery work. Housing for volunteers has been a challenge along the Gulf Coast since the hurricanes. The Salvation Army will help Habitat build and sustain the ability to host volunteers, meaning more Habitat homes will be built and more low-income families will be served.

“This community rebuilding effort is too big for any one person or organization to undertake alone,” said Major Dalton Cunningham, The Salvation Army’s divisional commander for the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Division. “By working together with other social aid organizations we are able to maximize the dollars available and eliminate duplication of efforts. I want to thank all the donors from across the country who have made this possible.”

The Salvation Army’s joint effort with Habitat for Humanity is part of its announced $155 million second-phase, long-term recovery plan for Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. Through the second phase, The Salvation Army will work with Habitat, Project Teamwork and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and other organizations participating in the recovery.

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 The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 33 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 9,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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.