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Hurricane Relief Efforts: Get Involved
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The situation on the Gulf Coast is grave. Reports of devastation are staggering. Thousands of families are left homeless or with homes that are severely damaged. Katrina was nothing short of catastrophic -- especially for families in low-income housing and mobile home parks. In a disaster like this, families who were hanging on by a thread before the hurricane will sadly suffer the most in its aftermath. They have lost so much. We must help them piece their lives back together.

Habitat for Humanity International is launching "Operation Home Delivery," a three-phase response to help provide assistance and rebuilding opportunities in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, the plan focuses, first, on helping Habitat affiliates that were hardest hit by Katrina restore some level of service. Then Habitat will seek to serve as a catalyst with other organizations, governments, corporations, foundations, etc., to bring people together to talk about low-income housing and recovery on a scale that Habitat alone would be unable to do, and third, to establish and implement a "home in a box project."

Habitat's plan is to assemble the materials needed to build a house -- either purchased or donated -- and then, working with affiliates, churches, corporations and others in communities all over the country, volunteers, working with building specialists, will "pre-build" the frame of a home over a few days. The house will be tacked together to ensure a rock-solid fit, then the frame will be taken apart and the components placed, along with other necessary construction materials, in a container and shipped to an area along the Gulf Coast or New Orleans where families, volunteers and builders will rebuild the home.

Habitat for Humanity International has issued an appeal for hurricane recovery and reconstruction donations. Using those donations, Habitat will build as many homes as it can fund. "Just for understanding, $100 million will build approximately 1,500 homes," said Reckford. "With tens of thousands homeless, you begin to see that we cannot do it alone." That is why Habitat is exploring collaboration with others: professional builders, mortgage lenders, bankers, foundations, manufacturers, governments, etc., to work together toward larger, more effective affordable and attainable housing solutions.

Additionally, Habitat leadership in Georgia and Washington, D.C., is working with members of Congress to ensure that affordable and attainable housing is a key component of any Katrina-related legislation. The global house-building ministry is also collecting information from and mobilizing its national volunteer and donor corps so that it can be ready to respond appropriately when conditions allow building to move forward.

For more information about 'Operation Home Delivery,' people can visit Habitat's Web site,, where they can also sign up to receive more information or to volunteer -- providing information about skills and experience -- when conditions allow for volunteers to help rebuild. People can also donate to Habitat's work in the Katrina-impacted areas on the Web site or by calling 1-800-422-4828.

Mission of Habitat for Humanity:

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat is founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent, affordable place to live in dignity and safety.

Habitat has an open-door policy: All who desire to be a part of this work are welcome, regardless of religious preference or background. Habitat for Humanity has always had a policy of building with people in need regardless of race or religion, and we welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.

The work of Habitat for Humanity is driven by the desire to give tangible expression to the love of God through the work of eliminating poverty housing. Habitat's mission and methods are predominantly derived from a few key theological concepts: the necessity of putting faith into action, the "economics of Jesus" and the "theology of the hammer."

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