Habitat is forced to eliminate positions - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Habitat is forced to eliminate positions

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An international charity founded here in south Georgia is feeling the impact of a struggling economy. Habitat for Humanity International eliminated 10% of the workforce-- 73 positions-- Tuesday.  Sixteen of these at the Americus headquarters.

Habitat leaders say donations are down, so is interest on their investments.  And they had to make cuts.

As a global organization, Habitat For Humanity International has helped place hundreds of thousands of people in their very own homes all over the world. Torsha Walker works at the Habitat restore in Albany. She moved into her own Habitat house about six years ago.

She said, "It's been a wonderful experience. The opportunity, the people. It's been awesome." But the worldwide financial crisis is taking its toll on the organization.

Tuesday, Habitat International eliminated 73 staff positions to reduce operating costs.

"Unfortunately, when giving is down and people aren't as open with their pocket books as they are in the good economic times, then certain cuts have to be made and it's unfortunate that it's a human cut that's being made here," said Americus Mayor Barry Blount.  He says the news is tough to hear during an already rocky economy.

Blount said, "It's unfortunate when people are being laid off and losing their jobs." While 16 positions may not sound like many, to this small community, it will have a big impact. "We're a small tight-knit community so, you know, those 16 people, we will know them and we're certainly going to reach out to them and their families and try to find something for them to do."

 The positions will not impact local affiliates like Flint River Habitat. They raise their own money and even tithe 10% to Habitat for Humanity International, to help build homes in other countries. Howard Wood is another restore employee and homeowner. He said, "It's been a blessing for me and my family."

And he hopes that blessing will continue for Habitat and other families. Habitat for Humanity won't tell us specifics about where the job eliminations took place other than to say 16 were in Americus. We don't know how many of those were filled and how many were vacant.

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