DCA Commissioner Grifa Joins Habitat for Humanity's

World Habitat Day Celebration

Organization Begins Construction on its 500,001st House in Paterson, NJ and Dedicates Its 500,000th House in Kenya


PATERSON, N.J. – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lori Grifa today joined representatives of Paterson Habitat for Humanity in raising the walls on Habitat for Humanity's 500,001st house. The event was part of World Habitat Day, which is designated by the United Nations as a time to reflect on the need for adequate shelter. Hundreds of Habitat affiliates around the world participated in the international event, including the affiliate in Kenya, which built Habitat’s 500,000th house in Maai Mahiu.

"It is a significant accomplishment for Habitat for Humanity to have served so many families in need, but on this day, it is also important to consider just how many families worldwide are still unable to provide themselves with adequate shelter," said Commissioner Grifa, who is an active Habitat volunteer. "As I can attest, the staff and volunteers affiliated with Habitat for Humanity are an industrious group, particularly here in Paterson where people are recovering from the flood waters caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee."

The Paterson house is being built in one of the inner-city neighborhoods where Paterson Habitat for Humanity has been continuously working since its founding in 1984. In its 27-year history, the Paterson chapter has built 225 houses and contributed nearly $475,000 to Habitat Kenya, which helped provide affordable shelter in partnership with 450 families.

The milestone houses represent the steady increase in scale and scope toward Habitat for Humanity's goal to help more families in need of decent affordable housing. Six years ago, the organization celebrated its 200,000th house, and last year Habitat served a record 74,960 families in need. As a result, Habitat for Humanity can be credited with improving the housing situation of a family somewhere in the world every 7 minutes.

World Habitat Day marks the first day of Habitat for Humanity's month-long observance of the need for safe, decent and affordable shelter and begins a series of activities planned by its global network of more than 40 countries. This year's theme of "Housing Cities after a Disaster," is a relevant subtext to the recent flooding and damages incurred from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, but is also meant to draw from experiences in Haiti, the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and other recent disasters. The goal is to encourage policymakers to recognize the importance of focusing on shelter in disaster response efforts.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity or Paterson Habitat for Humanity, visit www.habitat.org or www.patersonhabitat.org