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Habitat for Humanity kicks off long-term recovery phase for those affected by hurricanes

HOUSTON – Habitat for Humanity is kicking off its long-term phase of recovery for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The goal is to help 6,000 homes and families -- 2,000 homes in Texas, 2,000 homes in Florida and 2,000 families in Puerto Rico -- after a devastating hurricane tore through each region.

Habitat for Humanity is hoping to raise $100 million to repair, rebuild and send shelter repair kits to families in need.

On Tuesday, Habitat for Humanity leaders from Texas and Florida and Habitat for Humanity International leaders met at Harrel Park, a neighborhood built by the organization. A total of 176 homes built by Habitat for Humanity were damaged by the hurricanes. As volunteers worked on repairing those homes, leaders announced the kickoff of the long-term recovery and rebuilding initiative Habitat Hammers Back.

"We plan to rebuild 2,000 homes in Texas, 2,000 homes in Florida and to help 2,000 families in Puerto Rico," said Habitat for Humanity Houston CEO Allison Hay.

The initiative has already gotten $15 million in support from regular partners. General Motors, The Dow Chemical Company, Thrivent Financial and America’s Wind Energy Companies each made contributions of $1 million or more. The money will help repair and rebuild homes, including Gloria Tucker’s home, which was lost during Harvey. Habitat for Humanity built her home three years ago.

"Everything that I have is put in my home. I did not want to leave, but when the water rose to the point where I had to come out, my thought was, 'God bless us to be able to come home,'" said Tucker.

Volunteers from all over the country helped her repair her home.

"This is what it's about. We’re seeing action,” said Tucker. "It means a lot to our families. We are thankful to all the supporters of Habitat because they help us."

Two-thousand repair kits will go to families in Puerto Rico.

"Tell me another place you can come and you can see this type of action happening," said Nick Kouloheras, president of the Habitat for Humanity of Collier County in Florida, a county hit by Irma.

The goal is to complete the builds and complete recovery within three to five years. For the 176 Habitat homes damaged by Harvey, however, the goal is to get those families home by Christmas.

"To be able to open up presents, to be able to be in our homes just means everything to us Habitat homeowners," said Tucker.

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