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Habitat for Humanity to participate in Florida recovery efforts

Storms destroyed or severely damaged at least 1,500 homes

ATLANTA (Feb. 4, 2007) — With more than 1,500 homes left uninhabitable by powerful thunderstorms and tornadoes that tore through central Florida Thursday night and early Friday morning, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in the four ravaged counties are reaching out to assist affected low-income families.

Local Habitat affiliate leaders in Lake, Sumter, Volusia and Seminole counties have begun assessing the long-term needs for housing repairs and replacements and how many of the affected homeowners are likely to need Habitat’s assistance.

The federal government declared the four counties as disaster areas on Saturday.

The home-building ministry has seven affiliates in the affected counties, five of which provide direct service in the areas hardest hit by the twisters.

Habitat, in both its ongoing work and in disaster recovery operations, typically works with residents who make less than 60 percent of the median income of an area and cannot qualify for conventional home loans. New homeowners are selected on the basis of need, willingness to partner in helping to build their home, and ability to repay a no-profit loan. Their mortgage payments are used to help build additional affordable housing in the area.

The Florida tornadoes, which took the lives of at least 20 people, were centered in the area just north of Orlando.

Donations to support Habitat’s recovery work may be made online at Contributions also may be mailed to the attention of “Habitat for Humanity Florida Tornado Fund” at Habitat for Humanity International, 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709.

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