Houston Habitat Sets Blitz Record During Super Bowl XXXVIII

Friday, February 06, 2004

Former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, who once played quarterback for the National Football League's Buffalo Bills and now is on Habitat for Humanity International's board of directors, was in Houston for an NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl event where he congratulated volunteers and sponsors who were building homes for Habitat families.

Thirty-eight homes were built in 38 days during the Houston "blitz." A number of current NFL players - Shaun Rogers and Cory Redding of the Detroit Lions and Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers - were on-hand to help the Bengi Vidaurri family move furniture into their new home, which the NFL helped finance.

Habijax, the HHI affiliate in Jacksonville, FL, site of the 2005 Super Bowl, has already committed to building 39 homes in 39 days.

Founded in 1976 and now with 2,350 affiliates in 89 countries, HHI has built more than 150,000 homes, ranking third in new home production in the U.S.

The Houston Habitat, an HHI affiliate since 1987, has built more than 490 affordable homes for hard-working, motivated buyers who lack the means to qualify for conventional mortgages.

Would-be homeowners are selected because of need, willingness to contribute "sweat equity" toward the construction of their own and neighbors' homes and ability to repay a zero-interest loan for the exact cost of their home. Mortgage payments are deposited into a revolving fund for future loans, and public- and private-sector contributions help defray land acquisition and construction costs. These combined resources helps reduce the price of a Habitat home, making it more "affordable" for families who otherwise would have to rent.

Houston Habitat volunteers come from numerous corporate, community and faith-based sponsors, and included several from the local HUD Office. Another local HUD employee regularly participates on HHI foreign projects, and has worked side-by-side with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.

The Department provides financial support to HHI through the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) and others.

[Photo 2:  Former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp among volunteers and sponsors] [Photo 3:  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee congratutating to the new homeowners]
Former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp (front right), was the keynote speaker for the dedication of the new NFL-sponsored Habitat home. Cecilia and Benji Vidaurri, and their five-year old daughter, Alaina, are congratulated on becoming new homeowners by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
[Photo 1: Volunteers at the new homes construction in Houston]
Habitat for Humanity volunteers construct new homes in the Wood Glen subdivision in Houston.


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