CBA Seek to Provide Affordable Housing

( [email protected] ) Mar 16, 2004 08:49 AM EST

Washington D.C. -- The Congress Building America (CBA), sponsored by Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), which is one of the largest nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organizations, is ready to be launched on March 25 in Washington, D.C.

Congress Building America is a new initiative followed by the two successful housing initiatives from the past -- The Houses That Congress Built and The Houses The Senate Built programs, which is designed to highlight the importance of volunteerism, to produce new, affordable single-family homes, and to strengthen the network of affordable housing supporters by involving members of Congress and by raising their consciousness regarding the need for affordable housing in the U.S.

The sponsors of the event which include HFHA , HFHI, several major corporations and trade associations will focus on the construction of two Habitat houses at a site which will eventually include 53 single-family homes. The construction will be done by two groups within CBN – the National Build and Spouses Build. Through the Spouses Build, congressional spouses will work on the construction site and participate in an afternoon “Pass the Hammer” ceremony

Many congressional leaders are supportive of the event. On Mar. 9, Congress sent “Dear Colleague” letter, in which Sen. Frist and Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) urged members of Congress to join other legislators to build at the CBA site. The letter reads:

“The event three years ago was extremely successful, and we anticipate this year’s National Build will bring even more attention to the important work Habitat for Humanity International is doing to expand opportunities of homeownership across America.”

The members of Congress will also work at the local level in their home states in building Habitat houses. 64 members are already signed up with HFH affiliates.

"HUD (Housing and Urban Development) strongly supports this valuable opportunity for members of Congress to demonstrate their commitment to increase minority and affordable homeownership in a hands-on approach, one family at a time,” said Mel Martinez, Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

“CBA is an extraordinary program that goes beyond working on Habitat houses. It allows us to influence housing policy by sharing our concerns directly with policymakers,” said Amy Taylor, director, Congress Building America Program.