Habitat founder to lead blitz build for hurricane evacuees, local residents
Ten houses to be built in one week in Shreveport
For release Sept. 12, 2006
More than 200 volunteers from around the nation will join Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity, in a 10-house blitz build for Hurricane Katrina evacuees and local residents the week of Sept. 18-22 in Shreveport.
They will construct 10 houses in five days for the "Millard and Linda Fuller Blitz Build," a part of the "Building on Higher Ground" initiative, a commitment by The Fuller Center for Housing to build 60 houses for hurricane evacuees and local residents in partnership with Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal and other groups. Fuller is now president of The Fuller Center, which he founded last year in Americus, Ga. Land for the blitz build was donated by the City of Shreveport, which also knocked down vacant shotgun houses on that land.
Construction begins at 8 a.m. Monday morning on Alston, Clay and North Allen streets in the Allendale neighborhood, which is getting an "extreme neighborhood makeover" through the Higher Ground project.
"God directed us to Shreveport - there is no doubt about that. We have a glorious opportunity in Shreveport to do something that will be a light on a hill," Fuller said.
"We here at The Fuller Center are committed to expressing God's love in tangible and meaningful ways. We want to reach out with hearts and hands of love to show people who have encountered difficulties that there are those who care about them."
The two SBCR Friendship Houses in the neighborhood serve as an anchor for this community renewal project, standing as havens of hope and support for all residents there.
Highlights of the week's schedule include:
8:45 and 11 a.m. Sunday - Millard Fuller speaks at First Baptist Church, Shreveport.
6 p.m. Sunday - Opening reception at Holiday Inn downtown.
8 a.m. Monday through Friday - Construction begins.
4 p.m. Wednesday - Millard Fuller speaks at Broadmoor Baptist Church.
6 p.m. Thursday - Millard Fuller speaks briefly at the Providence House graduation ceremony at First Presbyterian Church for 11 homeless families, three of whom are moving into houses part of the Higher Ground project.
2:30 p.m. Friday - House dedications.
7:30 p.m. Friday - Celebration service at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church.
The Hope Filled Hands ministry in Minneapolis and the People Helping People Network in Indianapolis are sending busloads of workers to join those coming from across the country, from California to Florida. The volunteers include Harriett Shepard, 91, a former top fashion photographer for Vogue, Glamour and other magazines. A survivor of three Florida hurricanes, in which she lost everything each time, she is a tenacious volunteer who recently went skydiving.
The Henry Smith family of New Orleans is one of the families that will benefit from the blitz build. "This is a new beginning. It's like going from a Volkswagen to a Rolls Royce. And this is the start of our independence," said Henry, who will live in a new four-bedroom house with his wife, Geraldine, two grandchildren and two-great-grandchildren.
"You have to be optimistic and put it in the hands of the good Lord," said Henry, whose family was rescued by boat from their New Orleans home two days after the hurricane. After a grueling 23-hour bus ride, they found themselves at a shelter in Shreveport - where their faith is about to be rewarded.
Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal is a nonprofit effort to restore safe and healthy communities through caring relationships. Founded in 1994, SBCR reaches at-risk youth through Friendship Houses built in impoverished neighborhoods, strengthens education through the Adult Renewal Academy, partners with The Fuller Center for Housing and connects caring partners who turn their neighborhoods into safe havens of friendship and support.
Contact: David Westerfield, director of communications