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Baptist Builders partner with Habitat for Humanity to build houses in the Gulf Coast

AMERICUS, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2006) — Baptist Builders has formed a new alliance with Habitat for Humanity to help build 15 homes in partnership with hurricane-affected, low-income families in Baton Rouge.

Five national Baptist organizations, representing 5 million congregants, joined together to form Baptist Builders to help families along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. The churches began by connecting displaced, low-income families with affordable housing, employment and other necessary assistance in Baton Rouge. Now the Baptist Builders are picking up hammers to construct 15 new, permanent homes in partnership with hurricane-affected families in need.

“The partnership between Baptist Builders and Habitat for Humanity to build homes with the families affected by last year’s storms is such a rewarding project for all that are involved, especially for the new homeowners,” said Elmo Winters, executive director of the Baptist Builders. “I am convinced that so much suffering will give way to a whole new way of life for many who lost everything. What a joy it is to be a part of that.”

Construction on the first five houses is scheduled to begin Sept. 30. Leaders from the participating denominations will be on hand to launch this project. The houses will be built at an accelerated pace with the goal of completing the houses by Oct. 14. The remaining 10 houses will be built in the spring. Baptist Builders’ member organizations are providing funds and volunteer teams to support the construction. Each house is sponsored at $75,000.

“It is a great honor that Habitat for Humanity can be a vehicle for Baptist Builders to bring African American and Caucasian Baptist churches from across the country together to build with families affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes,” said Rick Beech, director of Church Relations at Habitat for Humanity International. “Fifteen families in safe, decent and affordable housing will soon be a testament to the generosity of the Baptist participants and the love and teachings of Jesus Christ.”

Baptist churches outside the United States are also contributing to this project. Concerned by the devastation caused by the Gulf Coast hurricanes, Baptist churches across the world have stepped forward to assist. Churches sent resources to Baptist World Alliance which is generously providing support for the project.

The partnership with the Baptist Builders is part of Habitat for Humanity’s hurricane recovery effort, Operation Home Delivery. Since the hurricanes, Habitat has nearly 400 houses complete or under construction in the Gulf Coast. Habitat plans to construct 1,000 houses in the hurricane-affected region by mid-summer 2007.

About Baptist Builders
Baptist Builders is a coalition of Baptist organizations partnering to address poverty issues brought to light by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Approximately 5 million U.S. Baptists are represented through the partnership between the Progressive National Baptist Convention, American Baptist Churches USA and its National Ministries, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, District of Columbia Baptist Convention and the Alliance of Baptists.

About Habitat for Humanity Baton Rouge
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge builds and renovates houses in partnership with the community. We provide opportunities for families in need to purchase their own homes and improve their lives. We build community by involving diverse religious, social and business groups in the construction of homes and neighborhoods. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge works in partnership with low-income families and the community to eliminate poverty housing. Habitat is not a handout but a “hand up.” Homes are sold to partner families at no profit and financed by Habitat with affordable, no-interest loans. The incomes of those selected fall within the range of 27 percent to 55 percent of median family income for the parish where they live. Since its formation as an affiliate, HFHGBR has built and renovated 152 homes.

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