Habitat for Humanity, a UR Students’ Association group, focuses on giving people a “hand up, not a handout.” The UR campus group is a link to the international Habitat for Humanity, whose goal is to work with families below the poverty line to build simple, decent places to live.
Our SA group has been an official chapter since 1994, but has been active much longer. UR’s chapter is very active, helping Flower City ? the city of Rochester’s chapter ? build the 100th home. They also have worked with Wayne and Genesee counties’ chapters in house building projects.
“My most memorable experience was painting with the mother of the family and hearing her talk about how her kids were planning which rooms they would live in and how they would decorate,” said sophomore and Habitat for Humanity secretary Emily Miller.
“After a day of work you can see what you’ve done what that means to the people that you’re helping.”
Last year, Rochester’s Habitat for Humanity cosponsored a build with UR’s group and CitiCorps. Habitat for Humanity fronts the money to the family, who is given an interest free mortgage. The typical house costs somewhere in the range of $55,000.
The other major function of Habitat for Humanity on campus is to raise funds for construction. They do this by Gingerbread House builds, the “square foot sale,” ? where people sponsor a square foot of house for $50 ? and a battle of the bands.
Habitat for Humanity has also sponsored an Alternative Spring break since the ’80s, taking participants somewhere warm to build houses. West Florida, where the spring break has traveled for the past three years, is especially active, building 100 houses per year. In the neighborhood all 70 of the houses are Habitat houses, which serves to create a community, since all of the people have helped each other build their houses.
“We built a whole house, we started with a concrete slab, and when we were done we had put up all the walls and put the roof on,” Miller said.
She concluded, “I had a great sense of accomplishment seeing what 12 UR students and a couple of chaperones could do in just three days.”
Habitat is a cross-generational, cross-cultural project, which brings people together to help each other help others out. Every family has to put in 500 hours of work, half on their own house, and half on another habitat house.
Reverend Greg Osterberg, faculty adviser for UR’s Habitat group said, “It’s pretty amazing to see people who have never picked up a hammer, and when they’re done, they’ve learned a construction skill.”
Osterberg also added, “It’s just about caring about other people.”