|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Contact:Tammy Agard–100 Homes
Pascagoula, MS, March 26, 2007 – Volunteers from over a dozen organizations began construction on the first ten houses in the 100 Homes in 100 Days Affordable Housing Initiative after a ribbon cutting and kickoff ceremony today. Five organizations lead a coalition effort to renovate and rebuild 100 homes in 100 calendar days, addressing the biggest issue remaining in Katrina recovery, lack of affordable housing.
The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mississippi Home Again, Hope Has a Face Foundation and Jackson County Community Services Coalition have created a project process that focuses on rebuilding entire neighborhoods in a compressed timeframe, and have invited other organizations to join in. The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross Hurricane Recovery Program have each pledged to fund up to $10,000 for each qualified homeowner in material support for the project.
“This project fits right into the work the Hurricane Recovery Program is already doing in the area. We are pleased to be providing case management with other partner agencies for the clients as well as supporting material costs of their homes through our Means to Recovery program,” said Russ Paulsen, Executive Director of the Hurricane Recovery Program. “This project also represents the incredible partnerships in the nonprofit community that are happening throughout the Gulf Coast. We are pleased to be associated with the effort.”
100 Homes focuses on creating affordable housing in “buying down” mortgages. Through creating recovery plans for each homeowner, case workers are making sure the owners will be able to afford the new mortgage. This buy down program is designed to ensure a more sustainable economic outcome for participants as well as to foster increased neighborhood stability. "The Salvation Army is committed to long term recovery along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Army's goal is to continue to aid in the restoration of families and getting individuals back into their homes,” said Major Rob Vincent of the Salvation Army.
Volunteers from AmeriCorps, Youthbuild, University of Missouri and Stanford University joined those housed in local churches and fanned out to sites in a five block area of inner city Pascagoula Monday morning to begin work on renovating homes. The volunteers were joined by contractors who in addition to acting as renovation managers and supervisors, are preparing to begin construction on other parts of the project including a prototype Green Affordable Home. The home uses a state of the art design that is not only environmentally friendly but is designed to improve the quality of life for its occupants.
“To build green means to construct in a fashion that increases productivity, improves our health, conserves our Earth’s natural resources and costs less to own and maintain,” said Christopher Fossett of GreenLeaf Consulting, LLC. “This is an historic opportunity to rebuild and embrace the smart redevelopment of our communities.” Mississippi currently has fewer than a dozen green buildings, which go through the United States Green Building Council’s LEED certification process to help insure they meet rigorous standards for design, efficiency and environmental sustainability.
The 100 Homes in 100 Days project is using a combination of renovations, new modular and conventionally constructed homes to revitalize an area of Pascagoula that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. “After completion in July, the project’s template will be introduced into the public domain so that it can be implemented elsewhere to more rapidly provide a permanent and sustainable affordable housing solution for disaster recovery,” said Keith Canfield, founder of the Hope Has A Face Foundation. Additional support for the project has been received from Northrop Grumman, Greenleaf Consulting and Home Depot.