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Church World Service and Habitat for Humanity expand efforts to help additional low-income families with house repairs

Gulf Coast partnership given the ‘Award of Excellence’ by the National Voluntary

Organizations Active in Disaster

NEW YORK and AMERICUS, Ga. (April 19, 2007) — Nearly one year after announcing a landmark partnership that is expected to repair the homes of 500 low-income Gulf Coast families, Church World Service and Habitat for Humanity International are extending their work.

The announcement of an additional $1 million funding from Habitat comes as both agencies are recognized for their partnership in rebuilding following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster today awarded both groups its Award for Excellence in Long-Term Recovery Partnership.

“In the last year, our partnership has helped hundreds of people resume normal lives by returning them to their homes,” said Church World Service chief executive the Rev. John McCullough. “We are honored by this award, and proud Habitat for Humanity valued our partnership by extending its grant program with us.”

The initial $3 million partnership allowed long-term recovery groups along the Gulf Coast to apply for grants of up to $7,500 to help people of limited means repair their homes.

“Given the immense devastation the Gulf Coast hurricanes left in their wake, a lasting recovery requires effective collaboration by individuals and organizations working throughout the region. Habitat for Humanity is committed to that cooperative spirit, and we’re proud to partner with Church World Service to enable local groups to meet the housing needs of their low-income neighbors,” said Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford. “We’re grateful for this award, as it reaffirms the notion of partnership so critical to our relationship with Church World Service, to our mission and to our recovery work all along the Gulf Coast.”

In a third round of rebuilding grants, 200 projects will be selected with 50 eligible for a new $10,000 maximum. “We found from the first two rounds there were plenty of cases where needs outmatched the $7,500 limit,” McCullough said. “The higher threshold will allow Habitat and Church World Service to help those with greater needs.”

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 close ties and deep commitment to their communities, identify homes to be repaired or rebuilt under the HFHI-CWS partnership.

In May, Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Home Delivery program will begin construction on its 1,000th new house to help low-income hurricane-affected families in the Gulf Coast region. With programs such as the partnership with Church World Service, Habitat serves 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 35 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 225,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit