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Habitat for Humanity International’s assistance for hurricane victims in Haiti highlighted at Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting

Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford in attendance to discuss HFHI’s housing microfinance program, sustainable building and assistance for long-term recovery in Haiti

ATLANTA (Sept. 24, 2009) – Habitat for Humanity International’s commitment to long-term hurricane recovery efforts in Haiti was highlighted at the fourth annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City. Habitat’s sustainable building work and housing microfinance program were also discussed.

Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International, attended CGI alongside business leaders, heads of state and other global figures who gathered to seek solutions for the world’s most pressing problems.

CGI’s four areas of focus include education, energy and climate change, global health and poverty alleviation. Habitat for Humanity International’s commitment to hurricane recovery in Haiti was highlighted during the “Developing Human Capital” session of the conference.

Habitat Haiti continues to build and repair housing in Gonaives and Cabaret, where 1,500 Haitian families in extreme poverty have been helped. Priority is being given to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed in 2008 by Fay, Gustav, Hanna or Ike. These hurricanes and tropical storms killed more than 400 people and left approximately 800,000 in dire need of help in Haiti.

In the city of Gonaives, Habitat’s Building and Training Center has been working since 2007 to strengthen the low-income housing sector through vocational training and home improvements for impoverished families. The program is part of a coordinated effort funded primarily by USAID that aims to create employment in vulnerable areas of Haiti, particularly targeting women and youth. Program objectives also included training in construction skills and supporting the creation and strengthening of existing small and micro-construction enterprises.

“A decent place to live is much more than four walls and a roof,” said Reckford. “In Haiti, our Building and Training Center helps families build and repair their homes, while at the same time providing them with valuable construction skills that will help generate income.”

Reckford also announced a commitment to expanding Habitat for Humanity International’s housing microfinance program. Over the next three years Habitat will invest $8 million into its microfinance work that aims to enable incremental building strategies for low-income families. With this funding, Habitat will continue to build upon its 2006 CGI housing microfinance commitment that led to pilots in ten countries that provided housing solutions to nearly 4,000 families.

In addition to housing microfinance, Habitat for Humanity also committed to sustainable building. Over the next five years, Habitat will promote sustainable building activities in its affordable housing work. To do so, Habitat will create community-based, volunteer-driven sustainable building models that will reduce its total energy consumption, minimize the impact of residential sector construction on the environment and increase the economic sustainability of housing for low-income families.

This was Reckford’s fourth visit to CGI, which meets annually in September to coincide with the UN General Assembly. Participation is by invitation only, with the goal of matching people who possess the necessary resources with those who have the most innovative ideas and greatest capacity for implementation.

Participants, who come from a wide variety of professions, cultural and religious backgrounds and geographic regions—and who include media voices, philanthropists, foundation heads, religious leaders, academics and other global citizens—are required to make a commitment to action as part of the meeting.

About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 as a project of the non-partisan William J. Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 1,000 Commitments to Action valued at upwards of $30 billion to improve more than 200 million lives in over 150 countries around the world. Through past annual meetings, CGI has brought together more than 80 current and former heads of state, hundreds of top CEOs and nonprofit leaders, major philanthropists and 10 of the last 16 Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship; CGI Asia, the first in a series of regional CGI meetings; and MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make their own Commitment to Action. For more details on CGI and the 2009Annual Meeting, please visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

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.