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National milestone is highlight of celebration in Michigan: 500 homes built, thousands of lives changed

 PONTIAC, Mich. (Oct. 12, 2007) – An unprecedented alliance between Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, called “Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity,” announces a historic milestone: 500 quality, affordable homes built in 45 states in partnership with 500 low-income families in just two years. Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County in Pontiac is honored to have led construction of the first, the 500th and the 501st homes of this impressive alliance. They will also lead a celebration of this milestone on Saturday, Oct. 13.

The 500th homebuyer, Lakeisha White, shares a story typical of Habitat homeowners. She and her two daughters, ages 12 and 4, were barely surviving in a dilapidated apartment in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Constant water leaks left the place damp and moldy, and the bathroom plumbing needed replacement. She wanted to move but couldn’t afford paying more for housing and still feed her children. She was losing hope—until she heard about Habitat for Humanity.

White applied and was accepted into the Habitat homebuyer program in Pontiac. Since then she has invested hundreds of hours of her own time, working beside volunteers, to build her first home. When the house is finished this fall, she will make a small down payment on a no-interest Habitat mortgage and move her family into a fine, new home.

But, there is more to Lakeisha’s story. Had it not been for the support of Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity, Lakeisha’s home could not have been built this year. This $105 million four-year alliance, formed in 2005, has made homeownership a reality for hundreds of families each year. Families that otherwise would have been turned away.

According to Sally LePla, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, “We could not do all that we do without Thrivent Builds. It has definitely made it possible for our affiliate to serve more families in need.”

This year alone, 355 homes are being built in 43 states through the Thrivent Financial and Habitat for Humanity alliance. Thrivent Financial is funding approximately $24.5 million, or 65 percent, with Habitat affiliates and Thrivent chapters raising the balance. Engaging more than 159,000 volunteers, nearly 400 Thrivent Financial for Lutherans chapters and 256 Habitat for Humanity affiliates have worked this year to reach building 500 houses in two years.

Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity
Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity is a four-year $105 million alliance between Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Habitat for Humanity International. The alliance makes Thrivent financial one of Habitat’s largest single allies and aims to increase Habitat’s annual house production by hundreds of U.S. homes per year and more around the world. In 2007, 355 homes are being built in 43 states and over 100 trips are planned for worldwide projects. For more information, visit www.thriventbuilds.com.

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.


About Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a not-for-profit membership organization helping nearly 3 million members achieve their financial goals and give back to their communities. As a not-for-profit fraternal benefit society, Thrivent Financial sponsors national outreach programs and activities that support congregations, schools, charitable organizations and individuals in need. Thrivent Financial has main offices in Minneapolis, Minn., and Appleton, Wis. For more information, visit www.thrivent.com.