Realtors from across the country plan to build up to 54 homes along the Gulf Coast under a $4-million partnership with the National Association of Realtors and Habitat for Humanity. Construction is currently underway on 24 homes for families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Volunteer Realtors are building the homes under the Realtor-Habitat Partnership for Gulf Coast Recovery program.
The Realtors have raised $75,000 per home to cover the purchase of land and building materials. "Realtors build communities, helping families find their dream homes every day," said NAR President Pat Vredevoogd Combs, of Grand Rapids, Mich. "More than 18 months after the storms hit, thousands of homes in the affected areas remain untouched because many of their owners cannot afford to rebuild them. We are committed to helping those families find a new place to call home. " For five days, teams of up to 20 Realtors will work beside future homeowners and local Habitat crews to frame exterior and interior house walls, install windows and doors, hang drywall and paint. As many as 30 Realtor teams are expected to travel to the Gulf Coast to volunteer in building. Realtors from Texas recently sent small teams of volunteers to Beaumont, Texas, to work in three-day shifts from Feb. 19 to March 10. Members of the Connecticut Association of Realtors spent a week building a home in Slidell earlier this year. A team of 19 volunteers from the North Carolina Association of Realtors, led by the association's executive vice president, Tim Kent, went to Slidell to participate in another week-long Habitat build. "Over the course of five days, we dug foundations, poured concrete, cut lumber, assembled buildings, pounded nails and put roofs on the buildings. It was a lot of work, but it also was a rewarding and educational experience to build something from scratch," said Realtor Parker Creech, of Prudential Carolinas Realty, who participated in the Slidell home build. "We had a terrific time and many of us feel like it was one of the best overall life experiences we have ever had. " The homebuilding trips will occur throughout 2007. Two of the 24 homes under construction will be ready for families by the end of this month. NAR and state and local Realtor associations hope to have all 54 homes under construction by the end of 2007.
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