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BUILDERS MOBILIZING HOUSING INDUSTRY IN HURRICANE ANDREW RELIEF EFFORTS

 BUILDERS MOBILIZING HOUSING INDUSTRY
 IN HURRICANE ANDREW RELIEF EFFORTS
 WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Working with local, state and federal disaster relief officials, the nation's home builders are organizing efforts that will eventually lead to the rebuilding of 85,000 single-family and other housing units destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in South Florida.
 "We are still months away before builders can actually start rebuilding homes lost in the hurricane," said Kent W. Colton, executive vice president of the National Association of Home Builders. "The most immediate concerns now are for meeting basic human needs of food, water, temporary shelter and sanitation and health facilities. The area must be cleaned up and secured and basic infrastructure services of power, transportation, water and sanitation services must be restored before the rebuilding effort can get underway."
 On Monday, Colton attended a meeting at the White House where President Bush appealed to industry groups to assist in the clean-up and rebuilding effort. "As a follow-up, we are working with HUD Secretary Jack Kemp to identify federal housing initiatives to assist in the rebuilding effort," Colton said.
 Colton said that NAHB is working directly with its local and state affiliates, the Builders Association of South Florida and the Florida Home Builders Association, in an effort to help plan the rebuilding efforts. Ken Ford, NAHB's program manager for civil engineering who helped local builders coordinate rebuilding efforts in South Carolina after Hurricane Hugo, was dispatched to Florida late last week.
 According to Ford and Chuck Lennon, executive director of the Builders Association of South Florida, both of whom are working with federal, state and local relief officials, the most immediate needs are:
 -- Volunteer engineers and other professionals who are qualified to assess structural damage to determine whether a home can be repaired or should be torn down.
 -- Building supplies -- especially plywood, framing lumber, glass, plastic sheeting, roofing materials and generators -- which are in short supply throughout the Southeast. The Builders Association of South Florida has developed a secure storage area to receive donations of desperately needed building materials. Further information about where to send material donations can be obtained by calling 305-820-1655.
 -- Volunteers who are willing to donate their time and resources to the clean-up effort and to assist home owners with basic repairs. Volunteers should call the Builders Association of South Florida at 305-820-1655.
 Colton expressed concern about scattered reports from builders throughout the Southeast and as far north as Pennsylvania and Delaware that the price of plywood had increased anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent in the week following Hurricane Andrew. "Random Lengths" reported that plywood prices rose from $298 per 1,000 square feet on Aug. 21 to $345 per 1,000 square feet on Aug. 28, a 15 percent increase. "We will monitor the situation very closely in the weeks ahead and turn over whatever information we gather on possible price gouging to the State Attorney General's Office in Florida," he added.
 Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth has expressed concern about reported price hikes. "I don't see any difference between the looters who go through the rubble in the trailer parks and business people who cash in on this disaster by gouging customers," Butterworth said.
 For the long-term rebuilding effort, Colton said that NAHB's efforts will be focused in the following areas:
 -- Developing a process for screening and providing temporary licenses for out-of-state contractors seeking work in the devastated area. In Charleston, S.C., out-of-state contractors were required to work under the auspices of licensed local builders and developers. A similar program is being designed for Florida.
 -- Providing a hotline for home owners to check out prospective builders and contractors to determine whether those persons are licensed to do business in the state.
 -- Working with suppliers of building materials in an effort to monitor prices and to ensure that an adequate supply of materials and supplies is available for the rebuilding effort.
 The Builders Association of South Florida (BASF) is coordinating a building industrywide relief program called "Operation Build Back" to assist the Florida victims of the hurricane.
 Among the most immediate needs is direct financial assistance to provide emergency shelter and materials. BASF is asking builders associations nationwide to solicit financial contributions from their members for disaster assistance in Florida. They are asking that contributions be consolidated into a single check and sent to:
 BASF - Disaster Relief
 15225 NW 77th Avenue
 Miami Lakes, FL 33014
 305-556-6300
 Checks should be made payable to "BASF - Disaster Relief."
 -0- 9/2/92
 /CONTACT: William Young of the National Association of Home Builders, 202-822-0409/ CO: National Association of Home Builders ST: District of Columbia, Florida IN: CST SU:


TW -- DC022 -- 6089 09/02/92 16:54 EDT
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Date:Sep 2, 1992
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