Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and volunteers join Habitat for Humanity to celebrate milestone wall raising in Gulf Coast
Raising the walls on the 1,000th hurricane recovery house are (left to right) Danny Houdak, volunteer; homeowner Crystal DePlessis; Jonathan Reckford; Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu; Rosalynn Carter and Pres. Jimmy Carter.
Homebuilding organization announces Gulf Coast as 2008 location for the renamed, ‘Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project’
NEW ORLEANS (May 21, 2007) — Habitat for Humanity raised walls on its 1,000th and 1,001st homes in the Gulf Coast today to help low-income families affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The milestone house represents the organization’s goal to have 1,000 homes complete or under construction by mid 2007, and the 1,001st house represents the ongoing effort to help rebuild housing along the Gulf Coast.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn; joined musician and Habitat supporter, Branford Marsalis; Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford; Executive Director Jim Pate from New Orleans Area Habitat; and Chris Monforton, CEO of Habitat of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi, Miss.; along with volunteers, staff members and supporters from across the Gulf Coast to help raise the walls.
“We are enormously grateful to the thousands of volunteers, donors and other supporters around the world who have put so much effort into making these homes possible,” said Reckford. “Their contributions will leave a lasting impact on the lives of families in need of decent homes and on the entire communities in which those families live.”
Habitat for Humanity’s hurricane response program was put in place immediately after Hurricane Katrina and then expanded after Hurricane Rita to help low-income families in Louisiana, Mississippi! , Texas and Alabama build permanent housing. Construction of the first Habitat house as part of this effort began in early October 2005, just six weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit. Work on the 500th Habitat home began in November 2006. Habitat will continue to build as funding and volunteer support allows.
At a press conference following the wall raisings, President Carter announced the Gulf Coast as the location of the 25th annual “Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project,” May 11-16, 2008. Since 1984, the Carters have led thousand of volunteers to help build Habitat houses. For 2008, the annual, week-long event is renamed to also recognize the former first lady’s years of dedicated service to help raise awareness and provide simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with families in need.
“New Orleans Area Habitat is honored to host the 1,000th and 1,001st wall raisings event and joins all the Habitat affiliates in celebrating this milestone,” said Pate. “We also are grateful to President and Mrs. Carter for helping to bring awareness to these important ongoing efforts.”
“The Carters have imparted a vision and ethic of service globally, we are honored to work side by side with them,” said Monforton. “Their example will inspire others to be part of the ongoing effort to construct simple, decent houses in Mississippi for years to come.”
Along the Gulf Coast, Habitat is currently starting construction on more than 57 homes per month in a region where Habitat affiliates had built 57 per year. Additionally, Habitat’s three goals for the effort are being met. The goals, set immediately after the hurricanes struck, included helping Habitat affiliates restore service in affected areas, partnering with other organizations to address the complex housing need and building simple, decent homes in partnership with low-income, hurricane-affected families.
Habitat partnered with Church World Service to help fund the repair of 600 homes for low-income families and with The Salvation Army to increase building capac! ity, provide housing for volunteers and make homes along the Gulf Coast more affordable. Lutheran Social Services and other Katrina Aid Today consortium members are also actively engaged in helping families find appropriate housing solutions, including Habitat homes. Habitat volunteers have also helped remove debris and clean thousands of homes in preparation for their rehabilitation.
Habitat for Humanity International has received about $133 million in contributions, including cash and gift-in-kind product, to date for its hurricane-recovery work. Nearly 90 cents of every dollar has gone directly to program costs, including land acquisition, development and construction materials.
The current pace of Habitat for Humanity’s Gulf Coast construction requires more than 1,000 volunteers per week. Volunteers can register and donations can be made online at www.habitat.org, or by calling 1-800-Habitat (422-4828).
About New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity
New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. NOAHH builds new houses in partnership with sponsors, volunteers, communities, and homeowner families to eliminate poverty housing in the New Orleans area while serving as a catalyst to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. In the coming years, NOAHH plans to build 1,500 homes in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Plaquemines parishes.
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 www.habitat.org .