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Habitat for Humanity grant to Church World Service helping rebuild 82 homes in Gulf Coast

NEW YORK and AMERICUS, Ga. (August 10, 2006) – As part of a first-time partnership, Church World Service and Habitat for Humanity International announced today that $446,000 of a $3 million grant will be distributed to repair 82 homes on the Gulf Coast, helping low-income individuals and families return home who are still displaced following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The funds and repair projects will be managed locally by nine long-term recovery organizations in the region.

The $446,000 project is the first stage of a house repair grant from Habitat for Humanity International to Church World Service (CWS) – the relief and development agency of 35 U.S. Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations. CWS will disburse the $3 million over two years to support residential reconstruction projects in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Church World Service has awarded initial grants to the following local recovery organizations:

Boat People SOS, Biloxi, Miss., $60,000
Citizens Organized for Rita Restoration, Kirbyville, Texas, $80,000
CityTeam Ministries, Bay St. Louis, Miss., $32,500
Harrison County Coalition, Gulfport, Miss., $22,000
Northshore Disaster Recovery Inc., St. Tammany Parish, La., $97,800
Rebuilding Pearl River County Together, Picayune, Miss., $33,000
Sabine/San Augustine Emergency Long Term Program, Hemphill, Texas, $69,700
Southeast Texas Interfaith Organization for Disaster Recovery, Beaumont, Texas,$13,045
Terrebonne Readiness and Assistance Coalition, Houma, La., $37,983.00

Church World Service traditionally plays a key role after disasters by facilitating the development of long-term recovery groups, and Habitat for Humanity has a long history of building homes. The Church World Service and Habitat for Humanity International partnership draws on the organizations’ strengths to better address the extensive recovery needs facing communities throughout the Gulf Coast region.

Local long-term recovery efforts guided by Church World Service focus on vulnerable populations, are led by community leadership, and are often wholly dependent upon financial resources from outside the community – especially when it comes to the overwhelming costs of rebuilding homes. The local groups use both volunteer laborers and paid contractors to complete the repair or building work on the homes.

In all, 500 homes will be repaired or rebuilt through the Church World Service and Habitat for Humanity International partnership. The two organizations intend to not just repair homes but also rebuild lives.

In the words of one survivor in Mississippi, “when they started work on my home, it brought us hope, but the rebuilding has healed our hearts.”

Habitat for Humanity International’s long-term hurricane recovery effort, Operation Home Delivery, is at work building a thousand new homes in the affected region by mid 2007.

Church World Service is an international relief, sustainable development and refugee assistance agency working within the U.S. and 80 countries worldwide and funded in part by 35 member denominations. For more information visit www.churchworldservice.org

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 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org