New Zealanders and Others Build Homes for Habitat for Humanity
According to Habitat For Humanity’s website, “Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, notes that according to Habitat for Humanity, Los Angeles is one of the least affordable housing areas in the U.S.
Once the volunteers are finished working on the homes in the Culver City Real Estate area, there will be ten new family-sized homes located off on Glove Avenue and Washington Boulevard. These ten homes already have families waiting and ready to move in.
David Duerte, Habitat For Humanity Site Supervisor, stated “this specific building project has been in the works for about 10 years.” First the families had to get approval from Culver City to build on the lots. After an agreement was reached, construction started this last April.
On an average build day, there are 45 volunteers with only three paid Habitat For Humanity staff members on site.
“About 85 to 90 percent of the work is done by volunteers, so we kind of show them the ropes and then they do all of the work and it’s just amazing, you know, bringing a group together,” Duerte said. “The three of us that work here could not possibly get all the work done ourselves.”
Kiwis in LA was one of the groups helping out last weekend. Broadleaf Meats and New Zealand Seafoods, two significant New Zealand importers based out of Southern California, sponsored the group.
“We are a group of Kiwis living in Southern California,” said Mitchell Wong, a Kiwi volunteer. “We’ve lived in Southern California anywhere from the last 5 years up to the last forty years, and it is a collective way for a group of New Zealanders as part of a bigger New Zealand community in Southern California to give back to a community that’s given well to us.”
Families aided by Habitat For Humanity made up the rest of the volunteers. The beauty of the Habitat for Humanity program is that those are receiving homes give back to the organization by working with the volunteers to build their own homes and their neighbors’ homes. Overall, they put in 500 hours of “sweat equity,” Duerte said.
Duerte added that single parent homes are only required 250 hours of labor.
Those interested in volunteering in Los Angeles, or looking to apply for affordable housing from Habitat For Humanity, should visit the website HabitatLA.org.