Congressman Alcee L. Hastings made the following statement on the House floor on January 31, 2012 recognizing Mark Wasserman and the Houses for Change Program:

M. Speaker, Houses for Change is an innovative new campaign garnering support for the fight against homelessness. This new program is quickly becoming a popular way to help communities across the country support the less fortunate. The program's founder, Mark Wasserman, recently visited Capitol Hill to share his ideas with Members of Congress and their staff. I would like to recognize Mr. Wasserman's dedication and thank him for working to improve his community.

Looking for a way to help the homeless, Mark came up with the Houses for Change program. This innovative program allows children to use their imagination and creativity to support homeless people. The children decorate pre-ordered boxes so that they look like small homes, and then they take their homes around the community to collect loose change. On a selected date, the children and parents bring the boxes back to Houses for Change, and all of the proceeds go directly to a charity selected by the participants. Similar to the Jewish tradition of the tzedakah box, this unique method allows all of the money raised to go directly towards helping the homeless.

Mark's original idea was extremely successful in Palm Beach County, Florida. As a result, the program is now being launched nationwide. With the help of Family Promise, Houses for Change is quickly being adopted by schools, church congregations, and homeless organizations across the country. Additionally, organizations such as the YMCA and United Way are going to begin using this program to help youth get involved in this meaningful community service project. Due to his hard work and dedication, Mark's original idea is now a national effort to help the less fortunate members of our society.

M. Speaker, people like Mark Wasserman are a shining example of those selfless individuals who have committed their life to helping their communities become a better place. I am so proud that the Houses for Change program started in South Florida, and I hope that the program continues to thrive across the nation.

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