The University Record, December 13, 1999

Undergraduate Habitat chapter building its first house; Business School group at work on its second

By Janet Nellis Mendler
News and Information Services

Mission accomplished! Two architecture course sections and many other volunteers worked furiously this fall to enclose the above house, also on Monroe St., before winter. This Habitat for Humanity House is sponsored by the Business School. Photo by Sandy Becker
The University of Michigan undergraduate chapter of Habitat for Humanity (UM-HFH) is constructing a four-bedroom house on Monroe Street in Ypsilanti. Work began in November and should be completed by March.

This marks the first time that the undergraduate chapter has been able to sponsor a house. The U-M chapter, begun in 1996, has grown during the past three years to include more than 2,200 student members. Chapter activities include building affordable housing for economically disadvantaged people in southeastern Michigan, sponsoring an Alternative Spring Break trip, and engaging in collegiate volunteer exchanges. UM-HFH is committed to achieving its motto of “One Year, One House, One Family,” says chapter president Michael Carr.

UM-HFH is a campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), an organization that builds quality housing for low-income families through volunteer labor and the donation of money and materials. Each home the organization builds is sold via non-interest loans to families previously selected from an applicant pool. In addition, partner families must complete 400 “sweat equity” hours—that is, labor spent working alongside the Habitat volunteers, toward the completion of their house and those of other Habitat families.

A single mother of four is the recipient of the house in Ypsilanti. The $50,000 house is being constructed with funds raised by UM-HFH, much of which is from corporate donations. Johnson & Johnson Health Care Services Inc. is donating $30,000 and Best Buy is donating $10,000. The remaining $10,000 has been raised though student efforts, Carr says.

Carr says it is part of the Johnson & Johnson credo to help the communities in which they live and work and to give to that community as much as they can. Best Buy has partnered with HFHI and has donated $200,000 to help fund the building of 20 houses in Best Buy regions across the country.