Two years after Katrina, Habitat for Humanity continues long-term recovery efforts
Giselle Brown admires the interior of her new Habitat for Humanity house in Hattiesburg, Miss. Brown lived in a mobile home in St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans for 20 years before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
AMERICUS, Ga. (Aug. 15, 2007) – Two years since Hurricane Katrina came ashore, Habitat for Humanity remains at work carrying out long-term recovery efforts by building simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with low-income families.
With the help of more than 70,000 volunteers, more than 1,100 Habitat homes have been built or are under construction. Building continues as Habitat plans to go the distance in the region, currently starting construction on more than 50 houses per month. Habitat’s Gulf Coast Recovery program spans Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.
“Habitat for Humanity has received an enormous outpouring of support from across the country and around the world,” said Ken Meinert, senior vice president of Habitat’s Gulf Coast Recovery program. “We are truly grateful for the many people who have given their time and resources to help low-income families rebuild their lives.”
An international homebuilding movement with operations in nearly 90 countries, Habitat for Humanity has been at work in the Gulf Coast helping low-income families build permanent housing for more than 20 years. Gulf Coast Recovery funding and support has also assisted Habitat affiliates in restoring their operations and broadening their work in communities.
“Our strategy is, and always has been, to work through local Habitat affiliates and communities and to develop partnerships with organizations to help low-income families build simple, decent homes and recover,” said Meinert. “There is much that has been accomplished but much more work to do.”
Habitat has celebrated many milestones. Since constructing the first house in response to the storms in October 2005 in Slidell, La., Habitat began construction on the 500th house in Mobile, Ala., in November 2006, and the 700th house in January 2007. Walls were raised on the organization’s 1,000th and 1,001st hurricane-recovery houses in May 2007 in St. Bernard Parish, La.
In addition to building homes, Habitat also has worked to serve 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. In the past two years, Habitat has partnered with Church World Service to fund the repair of homes for low-income families and with The Salvation Army to increase building capacity, volunteer accommodations, and affordability of homes along the Gulf Coast. Lutheran Social Services and other Katrina Aid Today consortium members are also actively helping families find appropriate housing solutions, including Habitat homes. Many partnerships and collaborations are ongoing with other organizations, community and faith groups and long-term recovery committees.
“Thanks to the support and tireless efforts from so many partners, we are humbled to have exceeded our initial goal of 1,000 houses and to continue helping low-income families along the Gulf Coast rebuild and rebound for the long term,” said Jonathan Reckford, Habitat’s CEO. “Given the vast housing need that remains, however, our work is far from finished. Habitat is committed to going the distance in the Gulf Coast, and we’ll do so with the continued investment from donors, volunteers, partner organizations and the homeowner families themselves.”
Volunteers can sign up to help build in a Gulf Coast community and donations for this continued effort can be made online at http://www.habitat.org/gulfrecoveryeffort/default.aspx .
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 1976, Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.