Students repair house with Habitat for Humanity

Gabby Keleher and Matt CollenWilliam Mandile | The Queens Chronicle

Gabby Keleher and Matt Collen

A group of Queens students volunteered with Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, March 22.

They began critical repairs on a home in Charlotte at 8 a.m. and finished six hours earlier than expected. The group of volunteers was larger this weekend than it normally is, which cut down on the time needed to complete their work for the day.

Habitat for Humanity is often thought of as the organization that builds homes, but critical home repairs are also part of the program.

Caroline Hill, an AmeriCorp construction site supervisor, said that homeowners can apply for critical repairs through the Habitat hotline. They must own their home and live there, the home must be in need of some sort of critical repairs and the homeowner must do “sweat equity” by participating in the repairs the same way they would for new build projects.

The homeowner, Miss Steele, lives with her daughter and grandchildren. She helped earlier in the repair process with the cleaning and repairs in the kitchen, but was not able to help Queens students this weekend.

Hill said homes are not always vacant while repairs are being done, but the volunteers had to turn off the water to work on plumbing repairs. She said that when homeowners need to move out for repairs they usually stay with relatives in the area.

The kitchen at the beginning of repairs.Caroline Hill

The kitchen at the beginning of repairs.

 Gabby Keleher,  senior, said they filled in a large hole in the yard and put down grass seed to cover it. She said the hole was put in the yard during plumbing repairs.

The kitchen after repairs. Volunteers painted walls, put together cabinets, and built a new countertop.William Mandile | The Queens Chronicle

The kitchen after repairs. Volunteers painted walls, put together cabinets, and built a new countertop.

Volunteers this weekend also tarred the foundation of the house to weatherize it and put down a plastic vapor barrier to prevent moisture in the foundation from rising into the rest of the house.

Katie Hanchuruck, another AmeriCorp construction site supervisor, said there was flooding under the house after rains earlier in the week, and that she had to shovel water out of the foundation before workers could go under the house.

Queens volunteers were dressed in protective hazmat suits while they worked under the house. They were covered in tar from the foundation of the house.

Kat Schweitzer,  senior and Build 4 Cause president, said that she chose to do work that did not require wearing a hazmat suit this weekend.

Nick McCauslin gets ready to go back under the house.William Mandile | The Queens Chronicle

Nick McCauslin suits up to go back under the house.

“I let them live the hazmat suit life,” she said.

Matt Collen, senior, and Nick McCauslin, freshman, suited up and crawled under the house to finish repairs while everyone else finished packing up the truck for the day.

Hanchuruck said volunteers also added new smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors this week.

Hill said they built a handrail on the steps up to the house, made repairs in the kitchen, fixed the plumbing and put in new electrical work.

The Queens volunteers were organized by the Center for Active Citizenship (CAS) as part of their volunteer appreciation week. The CAS is sponsoring events all week, including a book fair at Sedgefield Elementary School and a volunteer day at Friendship Trays.

Schweitzer said she is volunteering at events all week and  has already logged 199 service hours for Queens.

“I get really competitive,” she said.

She said that students should remember to log their service hours through GiveGab to keep track of how much service Queens is doing.

 

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.