National Lutheran News

Thrivent to fund 355 new Habitat houses in 2007

Minneapolis based fraternal group has created “Thrivent Builds” to facilitate the projects.

Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial for Lutherans plans to fund 355 new Habitat house projects during 2007. The fraternal financial services company says it will set aside $24.5 million for the project.

The “Thrivent Builds” project has linked the Minnesota insurance giant with Georgia-based Habitat for Humanity. The alliance, which got underway in 2006, provided 313 houses in 43 states during its first year of operation.

The Thrivent Builds initiative is the largest alliance Habitat currently has going. Thrivent has made a four-year $105 million commitment to help increase the nonprofit housing ministry’s home-building production.

In addition, Thrivent rallies the assistance of volunteers from its national network of nearly three million members in 1,362 local fraternal affiliates.

According to leaders at Thrivent, the project makes sense because more than 13 million U.S. households are currently using at least half of their income to pay for housing. The recommended amount is 30%.

In addition, there are millions of Americans living in overcrowded conditions or in housing with severe physical deficiencies. Some have no hot water, electricity or an indoor toilet.

Beyond the United States, Thrivent and Habitat are also sending volunteers around the world to build homes. Thrivent volunteers made 38 trips in 2006.