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Fest-goers can get a glimpse inside substandard housing

What: A nine-minute tour through substandard housing.

When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Where: The parking lot near the corner of First Street and First Avenue Southeast.

By Sarah Doty

sdoty@postbulletin.com

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For many it would be a nightmare: a house with mildew, rotting floors, sparking outlets, and no heat in the winter.

But for millions of people in the United States it is reality, and on Thursday, Rochester residents will get the chance to see it firsthand.

A rolling exhibit, part of a $125 million alliance between Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Habitat for Humanity International, will stop at Rochesterfest, providing a snapshot of a national problem that is getting worse with the difficult economic times. Ninety-five million people in the U.S. are affected by housing problems, including poor quality shelter, overcrowding, disproportionately high costs for shelter and homelessness.

"Substandard housing is a global problem, but it’s also a problem that touches the lives of people right here in our own community," said Patricia McCleese of the Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity. "Unfortunately, until a person has seen and experienced this need, it often remains a problem that is hidden from view."

This exhibit aims to uncover that problem.

A nine-minute tour through the exhibit allows people to see the sights, hear the sounds and feel what it is like to be in substandard housing. Games, kids’ activities, a free gift and volunteer information will also be available.

The exhibit will travel to nine states this year and is designed to rally organizations and people to participate and donate in Habitat’s effort to build decent, affordable housing.

"This exhibit tells the Thrivent Builds story and asks others in the community to join us as we help some of our most vulnerable families take an important step toward financial security through affordable homeownership," said Gary Irmiter, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

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For more information, go to Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

Thrivent Builds http://www.thriventbuilds.com

Rochesterfest http://rochesterfest.com

Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity http://www.rahh.org

Habitat for Humanity http://www.habitat.org

Southeastern Minnesota Region of Thrivent Financial http://www.lutheransonline.com/rfo375

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans http://www.thrivent.com

National Low Income Housing Coalition http://www.nlihc.org

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