A group of 15 students and staff from Philadelphia University are spending spring break at a construction site in Freeport, Maine, helping to build homes for three needy families as part of a volunteer project with Habitat of Humanity.
For the past week in chilly weather, the PhilaU team has been doing a variety of construction tasks, including helping to lay the flooring for the first floor of the triplex building, which will house the three families.
One of the women being helped by PhilaU students is a single mother from Africa who migrated to Maine after being displaced by tribal wars. The housing project is expected to be completed by October 2013.
“We can’t do what we do without the help of volunteers,” said Chad Mullin, construction manager at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland. “By hammering the nails ourselves, we are able to cut the total cost of construction by about 20 to 30 percent.”
The PhilaU students bring a range of expertise to the project, with majors including architecture, interior design, mechanical engineering, fashion design and pre-medicine. Maryann Ernesto, associate director for student development programs, and student development intern Allison Wright, an occupational therapy graduate student, accompanied the students.
Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical home-building ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and uplifting families who are unable to qualify for conventional mortgages. They are one of the largest homebuilders in the world, responsible for the construction and renovation of over 600,000 houses worldwide.