CaesarStone Celebrates Dedication of First House in Architecture for Humanity's Hurricane Katrina Model Home Project

SUN VALLEY, Calif. (July 01, 2007) – Wednesday, June 20th was a very special day for the Parkers, a single-parent household with six children whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. After living in a FEMA trailer for more than one year, the Parkers finally moved into their new home that was built on the same property that Katrina ravaged almost two years ago. The family is part of an Architecture for Humanity (AFH) charity program called the Biloxi Model Home Program.  June 20th marked the dedication of the first home in this breakthrough program, sponsored by organizations such as Oprah's Angel Network and CaesarStone Quartz Surfaces, which is providing quartz countertops for all model homes.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina raced through the Gulf Coast, destroying lives and leveling thousands of homes in its path. Hurricane Katrina became one of the costliest and deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history. In East Biloxi, Miss., home to 20,000 of the city’s poorest residents, many homeowners were not covered by flood insurance because the area was not deemed a flood zone prior to the storm. Although FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration indicated they would provide grants and low-interest loans, this has become inadequate compensation for many East Biloxi families. The goal of Architecture for Humanity’s innovative Model Home Program is to provide design services and financial assistance for the construction of new homes for families whose houses were completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

“Attending the dedication of the first Model Home and meeting the Parkers was a humbling experience,” said Arik Tendler, president of CaesarStone quartz surfaces. “My heart goes out to the families whose lives were destroyed by the hurricane. Luckily, several companies have heeded our call to action and have become part of Architecture for Humanity’s amazing program. For example, Paul Hendershot Design is providing the homes’ landscaping and UVDI is providing UV surface disinfection systems for optimal indoor air quality.”

Lifetime resident Karen Parker and her six children were paired with a professional designer who worked with them one-on-one to design a new home for their property. This unique pilot program provides families with forgivable second mortgages at 0 percent interest to low- and moderate-income applicants who meet the eligibility requirements. Prospective borrowers must be at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.

Money has always been tight for Karen (43) and her children Patrice (20), Natalie (18), Courtney (17), Brandy (14), Zachary (11) and Zaccari (10), but even more so with the prospect of Natalie going to college. A 20-year employee of Keesler Air Base, Karen is still waiting for the daycare facility she worked at to reopen. For this family of seven, the program has given them new hope during a devastating time.

If you or your company would like to participate in the Architecture for Humanity Model Home Project please call Sherry-Lea Bloodworth at (251) 802-3424 or slb@architectureforhumanity.org.

About Architecture for Humanity
Co-founded in 1999 by award-winning architect Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1999 to promote architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises. Through competitions, workshops, educational forums, partnerships with aid organizations and other activities, Architecture for Humanity creates opportunities for architects and designers from around the world to help communities in need. The organization is currently providing design services and funding for reconstruction in India and Sri Lanka following the devastating tsunami that struck South-East Asia in December 2004 as well as on the Gulf Coast of the United States after Hurricane Katrina. For more information on Architecture for Humanity, please visit www.architectureforhumanity.org.

About CaesarStone
CaesarStone is the original quartz surface manufacturer. The company is headquartered in Southern California with offices in Los Angeles, CA;, San Francisco, CA, San Diego, CA, Seattle, WA, Miami, FL and New York City. CaesarStone produces premium quartz surfaces, complementing any design application, from traditional to contemporary, for both home and commercial applications. Price range is from $70 to $120 per square foot installed. CaesarStone products are available through kitchen and bath retailers, fabricators, architects, designers, builders and distributors nationwide.

Offering a Llifetime Warranty as of February 15, 2008, their products are stain, scratch and heat resistant. CaesarStone has earned the respected Good Housekeeping Seal from Good Housekeeping Research Institute in addition to ISO 14001 (environmental management system), ISO 9002 (quality management standard) and NSF (public health and safety) certification.

For more information about CaesarStone and its products, please visit the company's website at www.CaesarStoneUS.com, or call toll-free 877-9QUARTZ (877-978-2789).