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RI Association of Realtors Board Member Spearheads National Program to Deliver Hope and Homes

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RISMEDIA, April 17, 2007-Members of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors® (RIAR) partnered with the Providence and South County chapters of Habitat for Humanity to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina by building homes as part of Operation Home Delivery on Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13.

The brainchild behind the national Operation Home Delivery campaign is Warwick, Rhode Island resident Ron Phipps who was struck by the enormous tragedy and the effect it had on a fellow member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). NAR® worked with Phipps to create a national program encouraging every Realtor® association across the country to raise money to build a new home, with the goal of building 54 homes by December 2007.

Phipps, who is also a board member and past president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors®, will join more than 50 RIAR® and Habitat for Humanity chapter volunteers to build the new home at the RIAR® parking lot on April 12 and 13 at 100 Bignall Street in Warwick. Volunteers will roll-up their sleeves and provide hands-on help to construct the prefabricated "House-in-a-Box," which will then be shipped to the Gulf Coast for complete assembly.

"I may have initiated this cause, but the Rhode Island Association of Realtors® and NAR® made this inspiring campaign possible," said Ron Phipps, the New England-endorsed candidate for the president of the National Association of Realtors® for 2011. "By combining our compassion, our vision and our sweat, I knew we could do something meaningful for Katrina victims."

Phipps said he also credits the volunteer team managers from RIAR® who helped organize the event including Sussy DeLeon, John Silvia and Becky Moniz and Susan Arnold, RIAR® Chief Executive Officer, and Herman De Koe, Executive Director of the Providence chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

"We're honored to help bring homes to victims in the Gulf region," said Cecile Cohen, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors®. "I'm extremely proud of the way our association pulled together in this effort and we're all very thankful for Habitat for Humanity's help."

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) encouraged Realtor® associations across the country to sponsor and build a new home for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Last year, Rhode Island Realtors® raised more than $70,000 through statewide "Operation Home Delivery" outreach. The association's efforts helped Realtor® organizations across the country contribute more than $4.6 million to help victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Every penny raised goes directly to victims in need.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors®, the largest professional real estate organization in Rhode Island with approximately 5000 members in nearly 700 offices, has been serving its members since 1948. Advocating for Rhode Island property owners, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors® facilitates professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system, and the right to own real property.

Last year Rhode Island Realtors® were involved in nearly 12,000 real estate transactions with a total sales volume of $3.95 billion. The association is one of more than 1800 local boards and associations that comprise the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The National Association of Realtors®, the Voice for Real Estate, is the nation's largest trade association, representing more than one million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries and who subscribe to a strict code of ethics.

Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry dedicated to building decent, affordable housing in partnership with those in need throughout Rhode Island. Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island is comprised of four affiliates– Providence, South County, East Bay, and West Bay. Every Habitat house is built with the hands of volunteers from all walks of life, and most importantly by the family who will buy the new home. Habitat Providence and Habitat South County will provide technical expertise to support the Rhode Island Association of Realtors® for the "House in a Box" initiative.

For more information, visit www.habitatprov.org or www.habitat.org.

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