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Focus on rebuilding foreclosure-wracked communities earns Habitat group Carter visit

A broad, neighborhood-scale approach to rebuilding city neighborhoods hit hard by bank foreclosures has netted Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity the prize of an appearance by a former president and first lady.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are stopping in St. Paul and Minneapolis this week as part of the 2010 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The Twin Cities are among only four urban centers the former first couple will visit during the national week-long effort.

In St. Paul's Payne-Phalen neighborhood and Minneapolis' Hawthorne neighborhood, thousands of volunteers will join forces to construct, renovate and do repairs on 26 homes. The high-profile event is meant to focus attention on the need for affordable housing--a need exacerbated in recent years by the wave of foreclosures.

"We serve the seven-county metro area," explains Nancy Brady, a vice president at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. "We do a lot of work in all communities that want us to work with them. In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, we focused on neighborhoods that were most impacted and partnered with those neighborhoods."

That means coordination with local government in each city, as well as neighborhood organization like the Hawthorne Area Community Council and the East Side Neighborhood Development Corporation.

With 14 events during the week, including opening and closing ceremonies, "this is our Olympics," Brady says.

Source: Nancy Brady, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
Writer: Chris Steller

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