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Tribute To The Jimmy Carter Work Project

Rep. Fred Upton

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and pay tribute to the Jimmy Carter Work Project and the thousands of volunteers who joined together this week to help build Habitat for Humanity houses for the city of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Across the State of Michigan, over 4,000 volunteers are building a total of 200 houses in local communities. In Benton Harbor alone, 1,700 volunteers from around the world have built 20 new houses, bringing not only large smiles on the faces of 20 families, but the reward of success after hours of hard work. The hands-on approach that the Jimmy Carter Work Project takes towards homeownership is both invaluable and inspiring. Homeowners must donate about 300 hours of their own time toward building their own homes. This partnership of volunteers working side by side with those in need is truly encouraging to all of us who want to bring the opportunity of homeownership to every family.

Homeownership is fundamental to improving and preserving the quality of life for the folks of southwest Michigan and beyond, and is truly the cornerstone of the American Dream. Taking pride in our neighborhoods and homes is a necessity to building successful communities and the work that Habitat for Humanity has done for countless individuals is truly inspiring.

This year's Project in Michigan is the second largest in Jimmy Carter Work Project's 22 year history and the first time that Habitat has organized to build homes throughout an entire state. Over the past several years Benton Harbor has been through many challenges and obstacles, but the coming together of folks throughout our community to work to bring the American Dream to our neighbors is what makes both the Jimmy Carter Work Project and southwest Michigan extraordinary.

I look forward to any opportunity to continue this partnership with Habitat for Humanity in its efforts to build more decent, affordable housing for all.

I want to once again commend everyone who has worked and continues to work to make homeownership a reality for people in need. This is a great day for our communities in Michigan and I want to once again commend both Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity for turning dreams into reality.