Campus: CSU Long Beach -- December 1, 2003
State Long Beach Starts Habitat for Humanity Chapter
California State University, Long Beach welcomes to campus a student
chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization
that seeks to provide affordable housing for people in need.
Led by Larry Brown, a graduate student in public policy and administration,
and faculty advisor Edward Martin of CSULB's Graduate Center for Public
Policy and Administration, the new chapter is part of Habitat for Humanity
International and works closely with Habitat for Humanity South Bay/Long
Beach, covering communities from Artesia to Wilmington.
"Establishing a chapter of Habitat for Humanity at CSULB tells
the community that this university is more than academics," said
Brown, who came to campus from San Diego State where he earned his bachelor's
degree in social work in 2002. "This is a culture and community
that cares about more than itself. It believes in making a difference
in Long Beach. And ultimately, what we do here affects the world."
Brown encouraged the university community to participate in the chapter
as it prepares for its second "hammering" scheduled for Dec.
20. The South Bay/Long Beach program completed its 52nd house in December
2002 and hopes to build another 60 homes by 2005 as part of the More
Than Houses campaign. The group is planning to build six houses on Orcutt
Avenue in Long Beach and a 16-house neighborhood in Harbor Gateway.
Martin explained that participating in Habitat for Humanity is a way
of bringing together theory and practice. "It opens the world and
broadens horizons," he said. "It helps us understand the incredible
complexities playing out in our society. And it involves many different
interests. Everybody's coming out, from Young Republicans to kids with
Habitat for Humanity selects homeowners based on three criteria: need
for adequate shelter, the ability to pay back a zero-interest loan (a
family of four must earn between $15,000 and $25,000) and a willingness
to partner with Habitat for Humanity South Bay/Long Beach.
"We provide 'sweat equity,'" said Martin. Families invest
250 hours of "sweat equity" per adult to help build their
home. "This gives the participating families a sense of ownership.
Every-body is enthusiastic about what we're doing here. We saw a need
to get students interested and get the campus moving on a worthwhile
There are many opportunities for participation, Brown explained. "Volunteers
can wield hammers or assume leadership roles or help organize,"
he said. "All sorts of people are interested in helping. It's better
to do something than nothing. Even if you're not sure how to use a nail
gun, Habitat will help you make a contribution."
Habitat houses are financed with no-interest mortgages and sold at no
profit to partner families. House payments go into a revolving Fund
for Humanity, which is used to build more Habitat homes. Family selection
is never based on race, religion, age or gender of the applicants. House
costs are kept low through donations from individuals, corporations,
churches, foundations and volunteer labor. More than 3,000 volunteers
work with Habitat for Humanity South Bay/Long Beach annually.
The goal of the project is simple, said Brown. "Give some of your
time and help make things better," he said. Those interested in
participating may e-mail Brown at Lbrown6@csulb.edu.
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