LAS VEGAS, Jan. 21, 2009 – Affordable housing is one of the most crucial needs in this country. In fact, one in three American families spends more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and one in seven spends more than 50 percent.* In an effort to combat substandard, unaffordable housing, Whirlpool brand lends a hand and passes the hammer to Atlanta, the host city of the 2009 Whirlpool® Building Blocks annual Habitat for Humanity community build.
Whirlpool brand, Habitat for Humanity International, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity and hundreds of volunteers from across the country will descend on Atlanta for the fourth annual blitz build. The Whirlpool® Building Blocks initiative is a signature program created by the appliance brand to help raise awareness of the need for more affordable housing and support Habitat in its mission to eliminate substandard housing nationwide.
“To date, we’ve constructed 28 homes through the Whirlpool® Building Blocks program, helping 28 partner families secure a brighter, safer and healthier future,” said Ellen Taaffe, vice president, Mass Brands, Whirlpool Corporation. “The relationship with Habitat for Humanity is inherent in our culture at Whirlpool and dear to our hearts. We’re proud to announce Atlanta as the site for the fourth annual blitz build.”
This year’s build will take place in the Avery neighborhood, a new housing development in the Clayton County area of south metro Atlanta. Atlanta is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, yet suffers from a deficit of 85,000 affordable homes, according to a 2007 Georgia Tech study. Much of the growth in Clayton County can be attributed to renter-occupied households, a part of the population typically not as vested in community improvement as homeowners.
Each year, the Whirlpool® Building Blocks program recognizes an outstanding Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the United States by organizing a weeklong neighborhood blitz build in that community. The program kicked off in Nashville in 2006, moved to Phoenix in 2007 and just wrapped up in Dallas in November 2008. The 2009 Whirlpool® Building Blocks program will showcase a collaboration between Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
Whirlpool Corporation is one of Habitat for Humanity’s largest corporate partners, donating a range and ENERGY STAR®-qualified refrigerator to every new Habitat home built in North America, totaling nearly 90,000 appliances to date. Every year, thousands of Whirlpool employees volunteer their time to Habitat builds around the country. Whirlpool Corporation plans to support every new Habitat home built globally by 2011, through product donations, cash or volunteerism.
To join the Whirlpool® Building Blocks community on Facebook and stay up-to-date on the 2009 build, visit www.whirlpool.com/BuildingBlocksFacebook , or learn more at www.whirlpool.com/buildingblocks .
*According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies
About Whirlpool brand
Whirlpool Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $19 billion and more than 73,000 employees. Whirlpool brand recognizes that consumers lead busy, active lives and continues to create solutions that help consumers optimize productivity in the home. In addition to designing appliance solutions based on consumer insight, Whirlpool brand is dedicated to creating ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances like the Duet® Steam washer, which uses up to 73 percent less water and 77 percent less energy than conventional washers manufactured before 2004—helping consumers save money and natural resources. Whirlpool is one of Habitat for Humanity’s largest corporate partners, donating a refrigerator and range to every new Habitat for Humanity home built in North America. For more information on Whirlpool brand, please visit www.whirlpool.com . Additional information about the company can be found at www.whirlpoolcorp.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 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .
About Atlanta Habitat for Humanity
Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, one of over 1,600 U.S. affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing to Atlanta’s working families. Since 1983, volunteers from corporations, faith-based and civic organizations have worked in partnership with qualified homebuyers to construct quality, affordable, green homes in Atlanta, which are then purchased through no-interest, no-profit mortgages. From 1983–2007, Atlanta Habitat built more than 940 houses in the City of Atlanta and Fulton County. Now able to serve families in 10 counties, Atlanta Habitat celebrated the completion of its 1,000th and 1,001st houses in 2008, its 25th anniversary year. For more information about Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, please visit www.atlantahabitat.org  or call 404-223-5180.
About Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity
Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity is a locally governed, locally managed nonprofit housing ministry serving Clayton County for over 20 years. This affiliate has built more than 95 homes locally and funded an additional 51 homes outside the U.S. through tithes. The selected families must complete a rigorous screening process, which includes financial qualifications as well as motivational indicators. Partner families earn between 25 and 60 percent of area median income, so the assistance being provided is for those who are not candidates for traditional mortgages. Southern Crescent Habitat homeowners contribute a minimum of 250 hours of sweat equity in addition to the other program requirements, such as the required 50 hours of homeowner education. Their comprehensive homeownership program has proven to ensure long-term, successful homeownership.