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Thrivent Builds/Habitat for Humanity partnership completes 2,000th home

Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans recently celebrated the completion of the 2,000th house built worldwide, culminating their four-year, $125 million alliance. The milestone home is located on Hillside Avenue North in Minneapolis.

Late in 2005, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Habitat for Humanity International announced they had joined together in the unique Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity alliance. This was a four-year, $125 million alliance designed to help address the complex issue of poverty housing.

New homeowners Abdikalik Abdulahi and Suaada Abdiaziz visit with Susan Haigh, president of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, after a house blessing of their new home. Their house was the 2,000th home built by Thrivent Builds, an alliance between Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent. Metro Lutheran Photo: Bob Hulteen.

New homeowners Abdikalik Abdulahi and Suaada Abdiaziz visit with Susan Haigh, president of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, after a house blessing of their new home. Their house was the 2,000th home built by Thrivent Builds, an alliance between Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent. Metro Lutheran Photo: Bob Hulteen.

On December 4, 2009, the new home of Abdikalik Abdulahi and Suaada Abdiaziz, formerly of Somalia, was dedicated as the 2,000th home built through this alliance. Groundbreaking for their home was in September, according to Bill Fredell, community relations consultant for Thrivent. “It all happened so fast,” he added.

Homes are sold to selected families at no profit. The buyers pay their own mortgages, and provide about 500 hours of sweat equity for the organization, either working on their own home or on the homes for other Habitat recipients.

“Each home means a family has a new beginning,” said Twin Cities Habitat president Susan Haigh. “It means independence, a chance for stability, and building of a neighborhood.”

Homes are sold to selected families at no profit. The buyers pay their own mortgages.

Some 350,000 volunteers in the United States have constructed Thrivent Builds homes in the past four years, said Tim Lehman, Thrivent Financial’s vice president of member experience strategy. A similar global program of Thrivent and Habitat has brought together about 4,000 volunteers in 350 teams to build homes in 32 countries, he said. Thrivent Builds has built homes in the Minnesota communities of Chaska, Ramsey, Brooklyn Park, Savage, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.

A common humanity

A “large percentage” of home-building volunteers are Lutherans from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, Lehman said. Many are also Thrivent members. Member involvement is a key part of the program, he added.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Minneapolis, is the nation’s largest fraternal benefit society. Rep. Bobby Joe Champion, who represents the new North Minneapolis homeowners in the state legislature, said, “I looked up what ‘fraternal’ means; it means coming together for the common good. This [home] shows we are connected … by our common humanity.”

Within hours of celebrating the completion of the 2,000th home, volunteers had moved on to the 2,001st home under construction just a few miles away.

A new $15 million program, “Thrivent Builds Homes,” will recruit volunteers from Lutheran congregations and Thrivent members. Its goal is to build 181 homes in 37 states in 2010.

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