Sunday, January 30, 2005

NAR Teams with Habitat to Help Displaced Tsunami Victims  

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has partnered with Habitat for Humanity® International to build "REALTOR® Villages" to help people who lost their homes during the great tsunami that devastated several South Asian countries last month.

REALTOR® Villages are designed to get the homeless out of temporary shelters in camps as a first step toward permanent housing. The villages comprise "core houses," which are permanent structures that, in some cases, will be built on the foundation of the previous homes. Each unit will feature one room and a porch under a roof, plus sanitary facilities. The homes could be improved and extended later on.

Said NAR President Al Mansell
"The magnitude of personal suffering caused by the tsunami, in number of deaths and injuries to people, and destruction of homes and property, is astounding. NAR feels that since our mission is housing, it would be appropriate to assist tsunami victims by providing them shelter. We have an ongoing relationship with Habitat and we are impressed with how extremely efficient the organization has been in getting the donated dollar to the persons in need." s

NAR and Habitat have set a goal to build 1,000 core units in the hard-hit countries of India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Sumatra area of Indonesia.

To cover the full cost, NAR has set a $1 million goal for the REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project, established by NAR Jan. 4. All contributions to the REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project will be donated to Habitat to construct the REALTOR® Villages.Mansell, CEO of Coldwell Banker® Residential Brokerage in Salt Lake City, urged REALTORS®, as well as members of the public, to contribute to the project to achieve the million dollar goal.

Habitat "core house"(Image courtesy of Habitat for Humanity International)
Habitat has mobilized staff to provide help in the four countries. Habitat plans to build homes for up to 25,000 families in the first phase of transitional housing as it works to provide permanent housing solutions. The organization estimates that the effort will require a commitment of $25 million over two years.

Groundbreaking on the new homes is expected before the end of this month."NAR's effort to help Habitat for Humanity help others exemplifies the good in humankind," said Tom Jones, vice president, Habitat for Humanity International. "We are truly grateful that NAR and HFHI once more will join in partnership to meet needs about which both organizations so deeply care. This will have permanent positive results for families rebuilding their lives."

All of the administrative costs of conducting the REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project are being absorbed by NAR; 100 percent of all donations will go directly to Habitat for construction of the REALTOR® Villages.Contributions are tax deductible. In addition, Congress passed and President Bush recently signed Public Law 109-1 that allows tax relief in 2004 taxes for contributions made by Jan. 31, 2005, to victims of the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami. REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project Contribution

TotalsAs of Jan. 25, just three weeks since the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® launched the REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project to aid the victims of the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia, the project has already surpassed the halfway mark toward its $1 million fund-raising goal.The Association is reporting the receipt of more than 3,630 donations totalling $578,883 as of 9:00 a.m. CDT on Jan. 28.

These contributions will be combined with NAR's initial donation of $50,000 and all incoming gifts to the REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project. Read NAR President Al Mansell's letter calling for contributions to the relief project.Contribute to the REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project Help NAR and Habitat for Humanity International put displaced victims back into homes.

Contributions can be made online through the following secure site powered by NAR's e-commerce system: REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Donations. To contribute by mail, checks should be made payable to the REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project and sent to: REALTOR® Tsunami Relief Project, Attn: NAR Finance Division, 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than 1 million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build. Visit the Habitat for Humanity Web site.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.# # # Information about NAR is available at http://www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the Web site's "News Media" section in the NAR Media Center

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