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Muslims, Non-Muslims Come Together To Build Habitat For Humanity Homes

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio News

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio News

Sacramento-area religious organizations have agreed to become partners in the construction of at least two houses for low-income families.

Habitat for Humanity calls this type of construction a "Build for Unity" project.

So far, eight congregations have joined the group. It's the first time since 2000 that a Muslim congregation has been involved.

Jeff von Kaenel is a Habitat board member. He says it's important to include members of the Muslim community in light of social and political attacks on them.  

"If there's a bully picking on someone in a cafeteria, it's important to stand up not for the random kid, but the kid being picked on. So, for us to work with the Muslims now, just like if a bully was picking on the Jewish community, we should stand up with them or the Japanese community, we'd stand up with them."

Von Kaenel says two families living in "substandard housing" will be selected to buy the homes at 30 percent of their monthly salaries.

"They have to work 500 hours to contribute to their house and to other houses and then when they pay back that loan over the next 30 years, that money goes back to another house."

Each home costs between $150,000 and $200,000 to build. The religious groups plan to raise $75,000 per home. Grants and other donations will be required make up the rest.

The homes will be built in the Rio Linda area of northern Sacramento County.

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