AFTER LONG MONTHS OF PLANNING, THE FIRST-ever Habitat for Humanity Home Builders Blitz is nearly ready to begin. One thousand builders are set to participate in the blitz, which will construct more than 500 houses at 158 sites across the country during the week of June 5. While most Habitat houses are built by unskilled volunteers, these homes will built entirely by pros, with assistance from the home buyer families.

Leading the way is the Habitat affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla., where builders and their trade contractors will build 30 houses in five days. Builders in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., will each construct 20 homes, and Denver builders will do 15. Several sites also are located in Louisiana and Mississippi, both hit hard by last year's hurricanes. The five homes being constructed in Columbia, S.C., will all be purchased by evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, says Kevin Campbell, director of the build for Habitat.

Originally planned as a 1,000-house build with 100 affiliates doing an average of 10 houses each, the event was scaled back to its current level, Campbell says, not because builders weren't interested in participating, but because affiliates had difficulty getting lots.

“We intended for the project to use builders to build additional homes [beyond what the affiliates could do with unskilled volunteers],” Campbell says. “It's a good idea when you can get land.”

For details on participating, contact Campbell at 800-HABITAT (422-4828), ext. 4332.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Charlotte, NC.