Habitat partnership hope to raise poverty awareness - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Habitat partnership hope to raise poverty awareness

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January 30, 2006

Americus- Substandard housing is a problem in every community. A new $105,000,000 effort between Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent-Builds hopes to raise awareness while building more than 300 homes this year alone. A new one of a kind vehicle is raising poverty awareness.

The doors to this tractor trailer may open the eyes of many passing through to the reality that poverty is a problem everywhere.

"Many people don't really have any real understanding of what poverty housing is like, and they come in here and they see it for themselves and they can feel it for themselves," said Michael Coniaris, Thrivent Builds.

Visitors get a card with one family's story. They can also hear testimonials from those in need of help. A new partnership between Habitat and Thrivent Financial hopes to lend that helping hand. Thrivent has promised $105,000,000 to increase Habitat's home construction efforts over the next four years. This year alone, they plan to build more than 300 homes around the country.

"Habitat certainly benefits from the fact that people will become more engaged, Thrivent also hopes that people will recognize the very good work that they do in communities throughout the country," said Mark Andrews, Executive Director Thrivent Builds.

Both organizations hope what people see in this trailer will be strong enough to cause a reaction.

"We want them to be participants in Habitat builds, we want them to donate their money to local habitat chapters and we want them to be advocates for the cause," said Coniaris.

Because as visitors find out, not every story ends with a home for the family. Some eligible for a home are left wanting because there's still not enough resources to help everyone.

"Until we eradicate poverty housing, we're going to keep trying and we're going to keep going at this effort," said Coniaris.

A multi-million dollar effort both organizations believe is worth fighting for.

The 67 foot trailer will be in Americus Tuesday, January 31, 2006 for tours from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. before it begins a cross country trip.

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