Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative plans announced

Mary Anne Christensen, Development Director

Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc. (HabiJax) and Beaches Habitat for Humanity selected to participate in Habitat for Humanity International’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative
Program encourages expansion of services to reach more families in need of decent, affordable housing

[Jacksonville, FL – July 29, 2010]– HabiJax and Beaches Habitat have been selected as two of 163 affiliates nationwide to participate in Habitat for Humanity International’s initial phase of its Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative in Duval county. That effort will focus on improving housing conditions while partnering with other community organizations to provide services that enhance the overall quality of life across struggling neighborhoods.

“For over 20 years, HabiJax has worked the Jacksonville community to build and renovate over 1,750 high-quality affordable housing units.” said Mary Kay O’Rourke, President & CEO of HabiJax. “We are excited to utilize the experience we’ve gleaned over the years, and contribute to the holistic revitalization of neighborhoods by expanding our housing product.” Ralph Marcello, Executive Director of Beaches Habitat stated “The needs of the community are the most vital aspect of our housing programs. We believe that this program is currently the best fit for the Beaches. Both Habitat affiliates will work with Habitat for Humanity International’s framework to develop strategies to revitalize communities through a variety of housing solutions and community development efforts.

In 2009, Habitat for Humanity International announced the formal launch of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The initiative encourages affiliates to serve more families and to create more resilient and sustainable communities by offering a variety of services in addition to new house construction.

“The affiliates selected to take part in the first phase of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative are a diverse group so that we can learn how NRI will work in as many different affiliate situations as possible,” said Larry Gluth, senior vice president of Habitat’s U.S. and Canada area office. “We’ll take lessons learned from this first phase and incorporate them as the program expands over time. The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative adds another dimension to our mission of providing families with decent, affordable places to live.”

Through the initiative, HabiJax and Beaches Habitat will work with other community organizations to determine the projects that will be carried out locally. Services will include new house construction, rehabilitation of vacant and foreclosed properties, and house repairs for low-income homeowners to make houses more energy-efficient and affordable.
“If we are going to help families thrive in healthy neighborhoods, we have to direct some significant efforts into healing America’s troubled communities,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “These affiliates will work together to develop strategies and create strong networks that can address individual neighborhood issues.”
About Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc. (HabiJax)
Founded locally in 1988, HabiJax has become the largest non-profit affordable housing provider in Duval County and is proud to be the most effective Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the United States. HabiJax helps to improve the urban landscape with high-quality, affordable homes that enhances neighborhood values, encourages growth and renovation, and provides a better quality of life for Jacksonville homeowners and their children.

About Beaches Habitat for Humanity
Beaches Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in the Jacksonville Beaches. As an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, we work in partnership with local families and volunteers to build simple, decent homes for qualified families in need. Recognizing the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty, we also offer college scholarships, after-school tutoring and rewards for academic excellence for our partner families. For more information, visit

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit

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