80,000 new homes built

Habitat for Humanity International celebrated the construction of its 80,000th house last week, with the completion of a new home in the Metzquital Valley just outside of Mexico City. The landmark house will be home to a mother and her four daughters. The group, which became very well-known with the hands-on participation of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, has now helped more than 400,000 people move out of substandard housing into homes of their own.

"The completion of this house is very significant," said Wilmer Martin, President and CEO for Habitat for Humanity Canada. Volunteers have made this milestone possible. We are now poised to reach our worldwide goal of 100,000 houses by next September. This makes Habitat the largest non-profit home builder in the world."

The celebrations marked the end to Habitat for Humanity’s annual "Building on Faith Week", which saw simultaneous building by more than 500 Habitat affiliates around the world The homes are sold to those people at no profit through no interest loans. Mortgage costs are kept low because of volunteer labour and the donation of building materials.

Mortgage payments are put into a rolving fund and used to build more houses so that the cycle never stops. Families must contribute hundreds of hours of "sweat equity” to the building of their own and other Habitat homes. In Canada, Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1985. The group has built almost 400 homes in all 10 provinces.