City employees pitch in for Habitat for Humanity

CARLSBAD — City of Carlsbad employees helped put a roof over the heads of local families in November by installing shingles on an 11-unit condominium project being built through Habitat for Humanity. The project is part of the city’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity to help create more opportunities for affordable housing.
The 11 city volunteers joined other community members to put in a full day’s work on the condo project at 2578 Roosevelt St. in the Carlsbad Village. The project is expected to be completed by early summer of 2011.
“I’m trying to instill in my son that volunteering is very important, you never know, you can change somebody’s life. If you can’t give money, give your time,” said Kelly Brooks, a public works inspector with the city’s Property & Environmental Management Department.
Brooks said she found the experience so rewarding – especially spending time with her city colleagues and working alongside two of the future owners of the condos – that she plans to continue volunteering on the project during her lunch hours.
Carlsbad Fire Prevention Specialist Mike McFadden said the day marked the first time he has volunteered on a Humanity for Humanity project, but it won’t be the last.
“I will do more of these. It was a great experience all the way around, I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner,” McFadden said.
Tonya Rodzach, an arts education coordinator with the city’s Cultural Arts Office, said she considers herself handy around the house, but had never before nailed down asphalt roofing shingles.
“That made a big impact on me, actually building the homes that people are going to live in, and with them being there it was a pretty rewarding experience,” Rodzach said.
Both the future homeowners and Habitat for Humanity itself greatly appreciate the city’s participation, said John Pulliam, Habitat’s local volunteer coordinator.
“The project is only possible through the partnership with the city. We are so grateful for that partnership,” Pulliam said.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit group that builds and rehabilitates housing in countries around the world, to provide shelter for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
To qualify for homeownership under the Habitat program, applicants’ income must fall within a predetermined range, and they must have a good credit history, said Pulliam. The homeowners’ mortgage payments go back into a Habitat for Humanity fund which is used for future construction projects.
In the case of the Carlsbad project, called Roosevelt Gardens, the city redevelopment agency had purchased the property with the goal of using it for housing for low-income households, said Debbie Fountain, the city’s Housing & Neighborhood Services director.
The city contributed about $1.5 million toward the project, which includes the purchase price of the land, and partial funding of the construction. Habitat raised the rest of the construction funds, Fountain said.
This project marks the first time the city has worked with Habitat for Humanity, although Carlsbad has a stock of about 2,100 units of affordable housing that includes a mix of rentals and privately owned homes, Fountain said.
Those interested in volunteering with Habitat for Humanity can visit the group’s website at www.sdhfh.org, or call (619) 283-4663.

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