/PRNewswire/ -- As the sun rises over the Atlanta skyline today, 250 volunteers are picking up hammers, shovels and ladders to help eight Habitat for Humanity partner families achieve their dreams of homeownership. Over the next five days, Whirlpool brand, Habitat for Humanity International, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity and volunteers from across the country are joining together for the fourth annual Whirlpool Building Blocks program.
Affordable housing is one of the most crucial needs in this country - in fact, one in three American families spends more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and one in seven spends more than 50 percent.* The Whirlpool Building Blocks initiative is a signature program created by the appliance brand to help raise awareness of the need for more affordable housing.
"Four years ago, the Whirlpool Building Blocks program set out to support Habitat's efforts to help eliminate substandard housing, and today we're continuing that mission in Atlanta," said Wes Pringle, vice president of brand business teams, Whirlpool Corporation. "Proper shelter is a basic need. In five days, we'll help make that necessity, as well as the dream of homeownership, a reality for eight Habitat partner families."
This year's build takes place in The Avery neighborhood, a brand-new housing development in the Clayton County area of south metro Atlanta. Atlanta is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country, yet suffers from a deficit of 85,000 affordable homes, according to a 2007 Georgia Tech study. The 2009 build features enhanced green elements as well as energy-efficient construction techniques and materials to reduce the footprint of the build and help the families maintain low utility bills.
"The eight homes built during the Whirlpool Building Blocks program will be a tremendous boost to The Avery neighborhood and help address the great need for affordable housing throughout our metro area," said Larrie Del Martin, executive director, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. "In addition, all of the houses are built green with quality, energy-efficient construction techniques that ultimately save homeowners money."
Each year, the Whirlpool Building Blocks program recognizes an outstanding Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the United States by organizing a weeklong neighborhood blitz build in the affiliate's community. The program kicked off in Nashville in 2006, moved to Phoenix in 2007 and continued to Dallas in 2008.
"The 2009 program is unique as it showcases collaboration between Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity affiliates," said Brenda Rayburn, executive director, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity. "With the help of 250 volunteers, this partnership is building more than homes - it is changing lives and demonstrating the powerful impact Whirlpool can have in communities across the nation."
Whirlpool Corporation is one of Habitat for Humanity's largest corporate partners, donating a range and ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator to every new Habitat home built in North America, totaling more than 100,000 appliances to date. Every year, thousands of Whirlpool employees volunteer their time to Habitat builds around the world. Whirlpool Corporation plans to support every new Habitat home built globally by 2011, through product donations, cash or volunteerism.
*According to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies
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