Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps members observe Katrina anniversary with New Orleans building event

ATLANTA and NEW ORLEANS (May 19, 2015) To commemorate the rebirth of the U.S. Gulf Coast 10 years following the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, more than 400 Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps members will descend on New Orleans to lead two weeks of building and fellowship during Habitat’s annual AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon, May 19-31.

During the event, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity will host current and alumni AmeriCorps members from across the U.S. The group, along with local volunteers, will build 10 new homes in the New Orleans East neighborhood in partnership with low-income families.

“We’ve seen the Gulf Coast rise up from the devastation left in the wake of one of the most destructive natural disasters in U.S. history,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Many of our AmeriCorps members helped lead Habitat’s vast recovery effort in our Gulf Coast communities, so it’s only fitting to hold this year’s Build-a-Thon in New Orleans.”

The U.S. Gulf Coast was the site of one of the largest disaster recovery efforts in Habitat for Humanity’s history. Habitat volunteers and AmeriCorps members helped remove debris and cleaned more than 2,500 homes in preparation for rehabilitation throughout the Gulf Coast region, and within just six weeks following Hurricane Katrina, construction began on the first new Habitat home in the impacted area. As part of Habitat for Humanity International’s relief efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Habitat’s Gulf Coast affiliates have built, renovated or repaired more than 4,300 homes.

The 2015 AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon also celebrates the 20-year partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees the AmeriCorps program. Habitat for Humanity was one of the first organizations to partner with AmeriCorps, inducting 122 members in its inaugural class.

“We are very proud of the extraordinary 20-year partnership between Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps that has been instrumental to helping Habitat build more homes for low-income families,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Nowhere has the Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps partnership had a more powerful impact than in helping families rebuild their homes and lives after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. AmeriCorps has been a backbone of Habitat’s post-Katrina response, and we are thrilled to highlight this impact through the AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon.”

To date, more than 8,000 individuals have served as AmeriCorps members with Habitat for Humanity, helping more than 20,000 families in need of affordable housing, contributing more than 13 million hours of service, raising tens of millions of dollars in cash and in-kind resources and engaging more than 3.1 million volunteers.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a critical foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, Habitat has helped more than 5 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes since 1976. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and supports a variety of funding models that enable families with limited resources to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To learn more, donate or volunteer visit habitat.org.

About the Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service and developing community solutions through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund and other programs, and leads the president’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.