CaesarStone Solicits Building Industry Friends To Help Sponsor Architecture For Humanity's Hurricane Katrina Modem Home Program

SUN VALLEY, Calif. (April 10, 2007) – Disbelief is the only word to describe how team members for CaesarStone quartz surfaces felt during a recent visit to East Biloxi, Miss., probably the most damaged area as a result of Hurricane Katrina almost two years ago.  CaesarStone has committed to providing quartz countertops for seven model homes that are part of an on-going Architecture for Humanity (AFH) relief effort in the ravaged area.

Tendler and team flew to Gulf Port to meet the seven families who will soon inhabit the AFH model homes. “As much as 80 percent of the housing in this low income community was rendered uninhabitable,” said CaesarStone President Arik Tender. “It’s now been over a year and a half since the storm and many of these residents are still living in FEMA trailers. We’re urging other companies in our industry to join relief organizations such as Architecture to Humanity to get these people out of cramped trailers and into homes.”

According to Sherry-Lea Bloodworth, Gulf Coast Development Director for Architecture for Humanity, plenty of help is still needed in the form of building materials to get these homes built and ready for families to move-in.  “We are still in need of appliances, furniture, flooring, HVAC units and lumber for joists and framing,” said Bloodworth. “We’re hoping that Oprah’s Angel Network as well CaesarStones’ contributions will encourage other building product manufacturers to join in.”

Already home to 20,000 of the city’s poorest residents, many East Biloxi 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 have indicated they will provide grants and low-interest loans, this will likely be 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.

Families such as lifetime resident Karen Parker and her six children have been paired with a team of professional designers who are working 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).