Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has announced a mammoth effort to help improve housing conditions for low-income residents of the United States and other countries.[@@]

Thrivent, Minneapolis, a nonprofit fraternal insurer, has signed a 4-year agreement to form an alliance, Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity, with Habitat for Humanity International, Americus, Ga., a group that uses charitable contributions and home buyers’ own labor to hold down the cost of new homes.

Thrivent will be contributing about $105 million in cash, volunteer time and other resources to the alliance, Thrivent says.

Most of the cash and volunteer time will go toward building up to 800 homes in the United States per year, and some will go toward building 200 homes overseas.

The alliance also will offer $1 million grants to local programs that improve entire neighborhoods, and it will be starting a program to educate Americans about the plight of people who live in substandard housing.