On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to participate in a Habitat For Humanity build in the Belle Haven neighborhood of East Menlo Park. Usually Habitat for Humanity builds homes from the ground up and then “sells” them via sweat equity and interest free loans to it’s partner families. Yesterday’s build was a little different and included working at the first homes of a pilot program that the Greater San Francisco Habitat for Humanity is testing out.
Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program is a partnership with the city of Menlo Park where bank-owned homes are acquired, rehabilitated and sold to Habitat’s partner families. Click here for an overview of the program (PDF). It appears to be a great program that addresses a multiple of issues; creating affordable housing, reducing the glut of foreclosure properties in East Menlo Park, and revitalizing blighted neighborhoods destabilized by the foreclosure crisis.
Our Menlo Park Build
There were 11 of us from the Coldwell Banker – Los Altos office that participated in working at three different home sites. At one house, 4 of us disposed of the remnants of two structures and put the debris in a 40 foot dumpster. The last 2 hours, we built a fence. At the other two homes, installation of interior sheet rock (tape and texture) was done as well as one home’s exterior was painted. As an office we put in about 40 man hours and had a blast doing it.
At break it was nice to talk with the “regulars” (retired folks who volunteer for a living). I also had a good conversation with a fellow agent who had not volunteered before. She really had a good time and assures me that she’ll do another.
If you haven’t done a Habitat build, I highly recommend it. It’s actually fun, you meet great people and you learn a little about construction as well. Also, if you want to get more information, Habitat Silicon Valley is celebrating it’s 50th home built with a dedication on October 3rd. Click here for details.
I’ve posted a couple photos form the day below. Enjoy!
Our Habitat for Humanity build site.
Even I can build a fence.
Our office (well, most of them) volunteers.