Habitat for Humanity marked a major milestone Oct. 3 when it dedicated its 500,000th house in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, and began construction on its 500,001st house in Paterson, N.J. Volunteers and homeowners from Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity joined in celebrating the milestones as part of events being held worldwide to mark World Habitat Day.
Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, based in Franklin, is among the more than 2,300 Habitat affiliates worldwide that have made this milestone possible, having built 120 houses in Pendleton, Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties since its founding in 1988.
"We are happy to have helped Habitat for Humanity reach this important milestone in bettering communities across the country," Michelle Connor, executive director, said. "With continued support of our sponsors and volunteers, we'll address affordable housing needs in Greenbrier, Pocahontas and Pendleton counties."
This year Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity embarked on a Neighborhood Revitalization program in Greenbrier and Pendleton counties. The organization began the revitalization work in a White Sulphur Springs neighborhood with the completion of the first all women build house in May. The revitalization work will continue through 2013.
The milestone houses represent the steady increase in Habitat for Humanity's scale and scope to help more families in need of decent, affordable housing. In 2005, Habitat celebrated its 200,000th house. Six years later, Habitat for Humanity has more than doubled that number through new, rehabilitated, repaired and improved homes.
"It is a testament to the power of what God can do when people come together to build homes, communities and hope," Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, said. "I am so grateful to all of the volunteers, donors and advocates who share our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live."
In Kenya, Habitat for Humanity completed the 500,000th house on Oct. 3 in partnership with families who were displaced after post-election violence erupted in the country in late 2007. That same day, volunteers raised the walls on Habitat's 500,001st house in Paterson, N.J. The house will be built in one of the inner-city neighborhoods where Paterson Habitat for Humanity has been continuously building since 1984.