Hurricane Harvey: Habitat for Humanity to aid recovery, rebuilding efforts; how you can help

10:32 a.m. Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 AJC Homepage

Habitat for Humanity International says it’s ready to help “hammer back” at the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The Atlanta-based organization is mobilizing volunteers, money and decades of expertise in home construction and disaster response to assist in what it says may be an unprecedented recovery and rebuilding effort.

“Harvey may prove to be the largest housing disaster in American history,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “Building on more than 20 years of disaster response, we are prepared to help Texas and Louisiana on the long road to recovery.

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Working with some 30 local Habitat for Humanity offices spread across the affected parts in both states, the organization already is assessing the shelter and housing needs in those areas, Reckford said. In addition to providing long-term housing repair and construction services, more immediately, it’s organizing volunteers and resources needed to clean out homes damaged by flood waters, high winds and other havoc wreaked by Harvey.

In addition to its well known home building projects around the world, Habitat for Humanity has been responding to disasters ranging from earthquakes to typhoons since 1997. Those efforts have helped more than 230,000 families in 52 countries, according to the organization that was founded in Americus in 1976 as a grassroots organization dedicated to providing decent, affordable housing for more people.

JASON FRANSON/AP
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn help build homes for Habitat for Humanity in Edmonton Alberta, Tuesday July 11, 2017. An earlier Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project built homes in Katrina-ravaged regions of the South in 2008. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Habitat organizations along the Gulf Coast built more than 6,000 new homes and removed debris and cleaned more than 2,500 homes so they could be repaired and rehabbed. As part of that effort, in 2008, the 25th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project deployed more than 2,000 volunteers across Gulf Coast, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas to help build some 250 homes for families affected by Katrina.

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Habitat’s Mobile Response Units and Disaster Corps volunteers are headed to the region to begin rapid assessments of Harvey-related damage and needs. To donate to the effort, go to habitat.org/harvey or call 1-800-HABITAT (1-800-422-4828).

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