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Monday, February 18, 2008

A Champion to Alleviate the Curse of Homelessness

On Presidents Day, we celebrate a modern-day leader and role-model; Jimmy Carter, who as president of the United States was deeply committed to social justice and basic human rights for the poor and homeless. He and his wife Rosalynn left the White House in search of meaningful ways to contribute in these areas. In addition to promoting peace and human rights through the nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta, they also lead the Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) and became actively involved with Habitat for Humanity International. They build homes for the poor.

Jimmy Carter's involvement with Habitat for Humanity International began in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience planted the seed that continues to grow housing for the poor to this very day. Each year, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter give a week of their time—along with their construction skills—to build homes and raise awareness of the critical need for affordable housing.

"We have become small players in an exciting global effort to alleviate the curse of homelessness," Carter said. "With our many new friends, we have worked to raise funds, to publicize the good work of Habitat, to recruit other volunteers, to visit overseas projects and even build a few houses." Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and making decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat for Humanity has built more than 200,000 houses worldwide. Volunteers work with future homeowners to build or renovate houses, which are then sold to partner families at no profit, with no interest charged on the mortgage.

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