May 01, 2001

National NeighborWorks Week, an annual campaign to restore homes and revitalize neighborhoods, takes place this year June 2-9, 2001, with activities in more than 300 communities across the nation.

As the first ever national sponsor of National NeighborWorks Week, Washington Mutual will contribute financial, in-kind and volunteer support, allowing for the most widespread housing and community revitalization campaign in the event's 18-year history.

National NeighborWorks Week was founded in 1984 by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation and its NeighborWorks network of community development organizations, all dedicated to revitalizing America's urban, suburban and rural communities.

"Washington Mutual's commitment to Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation is the company's largest-ever financial and volunteer effort in support of a single housing organization," said Kerry Killinger, Washington Mutual Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "NeighborWorks Week complements our ongoing efforts to ensure safe, clean and respectable affordable housing for all individuals and families in our communities."

Washington Mutual's commitment to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation is valued at more than $2.6 million. In addition to sponsoring National NeighborWorks Week, Washington Mutual is the first corporation to endow a scholarship program for Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation's Training Institute, the premier training program for community development and affordable housing practitioners.

Record Level Participation for National NeighborWorks Week 2001

A record 10,000 volunteers nationwide, composed of Washington Mutual employees, neighborhood residents, business people, government officials and community members, will work together side-by-side during National NeighborWorks Week to help rehabilitate homes, build playgrounds and remove graffiti, as well as landscape, paint and repair properties.

Additionally, of the 220 organizations affiliated with the NeighborWorks network, 82% (181 out of 220) will take part in this year's National NeighborWorks Week. This marks a 20% increase in participation over the 2000 event and is the highest participation level among the organizations in National NeighborWorks Week history.

In celebration of National NeighborWorks Week, Washington Mutual will host "WaMu Block Parties" for volunteers and community members in six cities with major revitalization projects: Seattle; Oakland, Inglewood, CA; Houston; Chicago; and West Palm Beach, FL. Activities will include quilting, local entertainers, speeches from local members of the community and of course, hot dogs and hamburgers.

"Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation is proud to have Washington Mutual as the first sponsor of National NeighborWorks Week. Washington Mutual's significant financial and employee volunteer contributions are greatly appreciated and will help NeighborWorks organizations nationwide generate the community support needed to sustain their revitalization efforts throughout the year," said Ellen Lazar, executive director of Neighborhood Reinvestment.

The Need for National NeighborWorks Week

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) "State of the Cities 2000" report, house prices have been rising at more than twice the rate of overall inflation and rents have risen at more than one-and-a-half times that rate. For many people, keeping up with rising housing costs means less available income for basic maintenance -- an especially dire situation for low-income households. Also according to HUD, millions of individuals now face "worse-case housing needs." These families either pay more than 50% of their income toward rent and utilities and/or live in housing with severe physical deficiencies.

The NeighborWorks network organizations nationwide offer realistic solutions to the growing housing crisis by offering homeownership and other community development activities throughout each year. National NeighborWorks Week, now in its 18th year, is a national celebration of the accomplishments of the NeighborWorks network working in more than 1,700 communities across the nation. National NeighborWorks Week activities such as painting and repair of existing homes and apartment buildings are symbolic of the work that NeighborWorks organizations accomplish all year long together with residents, businesses, and government officials.

For more information at http://www.nw.org.

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