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Habitat for Humanity joins other organizations in welcoming National Service expansion

Legislation to help increase service opportunities, revitalize communities

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2009) – Habitat for Humanity International chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford joined representatives from Voices for National Service and members of the ServiceNation Organizing Committee as President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law today. The signing took place at the SEED School of Washington with Senator Kennedy, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Rosalynn Carter and Vice President Joe Biden in attendance.

Habitat for Humanity International supported this legislation because it will allow for additional national service members, like AmeriCorps members, to serve with Habitat affiliates across the country, clearing the way for even more Americans to serve their communities.

“An expansion of national service will enhance Habitat’s capacity to serve more families, and it also provides the benefit of putting more national service members to work in helping to improve communities,” said Reckford. “We will be part of the effort to connect people together who care about helping low-income families achieve affordable housing and improving communities in need of revitalization efforts.”

National service members mobilize, lead, train and support volunteers. In 2009, Habitat for Humanity’s expected 543 AmeriCorps members will recruit and train 200,000 volunteers contributing 800,000 volunteer hours. By leading construction crews, providing family support services and training others in construction skills, Habitat’s national service members help increase affordable homeownership opportunities in partnership with low-income families.

As a member of the ServiceNation Organizing Committee, Habitat for Humanity International was at the forefront of the initiative to see this legislation pass. Through online advocacy efforts, nearly 200,000 of its supporters learned about the Serve America Act and many took action by contacting their members of Congress.

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which updates and strengthens national service programs, passed the U.S. House of Representatives one month after President Barack Obama called for passage of national service legislation in his joint address to Congress.

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 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org.