The Collegian
Monday, October 02, 2023

Students prepare for final leg of Habitat for Humanity build

The University of Richmond and the Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity plan to complete a nine-week house build in Northside Richmond's Highland Park community in the coming weeks.

Richmond's Habitat chapter has contributed to the build since Feb. 24. Up to 15 students, faculty and staff per day have volunteered their time on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday, April 24, will be the last day Richmond students can contribute to the build because of a school policy that the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement cannot organize activities during final exam week, said Cassie Price, community initiatives and program coordinator in the CCE.

The project is in the finishing stages, said Matt Wentworth, president of Richmond's Habitat chapter. This week the volunteers are completing the siding and dry-walling.

The home, located at 621 E. Brookland Park Blvd., is the third Habitat home built in a row. It is two stories and contains two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a kitchen, a family room and a dining area, Wentworth said.

In addition to Richmond's contribution to the build, the family that is receiving the home is required to put in several hours of "sweat equity" to the build. The chapters of both the university and the city selected a single mother from Richmond with two sons to receive the house.

"[The mother] has been amazing," Wentworth said. "She jumps in at any time and is always immensely thankful of the volunteers."

It is a misconception that Habitat gives the home away to a selected family. The project depends on volunteers to build the home in order to make the mortgage more affordable. Once the build is complete, however, the owner is still required to pay the mortgage.

"This project has turned out to be great," Price said. "And it's not just about building houses. It's about building relationships."

Contact reporter Dryden Witman

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