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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

Monday, January 17, 2005

CONTACT: Robert K. Silverman Habitat for Humanity - New York City phone: 718-246-5656 x344 cell: 347-392-1064 e-mail:

Volunteers and Families Renew King's Dream By Building Affordable Homes in Harlem

Mayor Bloomberg and City Officials Join Together with Churches, Community Groups And Corporations to Celebrate King's Legacy Through Service

New York, NY - Volunteers from churches, synagogues and mosques throughout the city joined Habitat for Humanity - New York City to build six affordable homes in Harlem, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of ensuring social justice for all.

More than 100 volunteers transformed their faith into action over the course of the holiday weekend, braving the cold to renovate a five-story apartment building on West 128th Street that will provide six affordable homes for New York City families in need. Habitat-NYC has already built 36 affordable homes in Harlem, including 10 completed last month.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined the volunteers for a special afternoon program today in celebration of Dr. King's legacy of service. "Helping hard-working New Yorkers to become homeowners is one of the top goals of our administration-and I'm delighted that we've been able to help so many make that dream come true," Mayor Bloomberg said. "With Habitat-NYC's help, our administration is creating affordable homes for 200,000 New Yorkers. Since July 2003, we've begun construction of 3,000 units for 9,300 people here in Harlem alone, giving thousands of families the chance to own their own homes. Because when people own their homes, they take a stronger interest in community life, creating more stable communities."

The construction of the new affordable homes represents a partnership between Habitat-NYC and the City of New York. Habitat-NYC received the land and the building from the city for the nominal fee of $1. "I'm proud to be here today building homes with Habitat-NYC on land provided by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development," said Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan. "The city is encouraging public-private investment in housing programs in order strengthen communities and introduce more New Yorkers to the advantages of building a long-term investment in a home."

Volunteers worked throughout the holiday weekend on the newest Habitat-NYC homes. The event concluded today with a special "Conference on Social Justice" program at Columbia University to launch a new green building initiative to protect the environment and make housing healthier for families.

"Habitat-NYC is committed to ending homelessness and substandard housing in New York City," said Roland Lewis, Executive Director of Habitat-NYC. "I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would be here in Harlem with us, working to build affordable homes and ensure all New Yorkers have access to decent, affordable shelter."

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