Majority Of House Members Enroll to Be House Builders
Americus, Ga. - March 25, 1998 - A growing majority of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives have pledged to help build a home with a neighbor from their home district who needs a better place to live. Enrollment in "The Houses that Congress Built" program this week reached 255 representatives. The ultimate goal of this historic project is for U.S. lawmakers to build a simple, affordable home with a low-income family in all 435 congressional districts during 1998.
"The Houses that Congress Built" involves Habitat for Humanity International, the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Partners in Homeownership. June 6 is the focus day when many of the lawmakers will become volunteers by picking up a hammer and pounding nails building a Habitat house.
The response from his Capitol Hill colleagues has impressed House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"In just a few months, a clear majority of House members have agreed with our blueprint to build a Habitat house in every congressional district," says Speaker Gingrich. "This milestone is a testament to the power of what we, as members of Congress and community leaders, can accomplish by working side by side with families to fulfill the American dream."
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), who conceived "The Houses that Congress Built" program, points with pride to what will be accomplished.
"With these men and women in Congress committed to the effort, we will literally transform hundreds of neighborhoods and communities across the United States," Rep. Lewis says.
"The Houses that Congress Built" is a project coordinated by Habitat for Humanity International and supported by the National Partners in Homeownership, a 65-member coalition representing nonprofit housing providers, home builders, real estate professionals, financial institutions, and others. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors are very active supporters of the coalition. The goal of the National Partners is to achieve an all-time high rate of homeownership of 67 percent of all American households by the end of the year 2000.
Habitat For Humanity International is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry that seeks to eliminate poverty housing from the world. Habitat works in partnership with people in need to build simple, decent shelter that is sold at no profit through interest-free loans. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built some 70,000 houses, working in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 59 foreign countries.