Most of Habitat for Humanity's work in New York City involves renovating existing structures, but this is the first time the group will build a home from scratch – called a “stick build” - in the five boroughs.
“When we’re out in the community doing things like this, we are helping our fellow Delta people, so we really feel that we are giving back to the community,” said Tricia Rumola, general manager of Community Engagement. “I think that giving this opportunity to employees has made them have more pride in the company.”
The site previously held a dilapidated house that had been abandoned for 20 years. Volunteers from Delta also participated in the demolition. Work on the new home will take about nine months, at which point it will be turned over to a deserving family.
Over the past eleven years, Delta volunteers have helped Habitat NYC on 80 builds in New York, from single-family homes to apartment buildings.
Nadia Seebrath has worked for Delta at LaGuardia Airport for 25 years, and has participated in four international builds and several local builds.
“When I came to New York I saw something very different from what my experience was as an international builder, and I realized how much the families, the communities, need our support,” she said.
Habitat NYC is currently building 385 units of housing in the city, including a 15-unit development in Brownsville and a 56-unit co-op in the Bronx, the largest Habitat for Humanity project in the world.
“The families that we serve, about 85 percent of them are single moms,” said Sabrina Lippman, vice president of Resource Development. “These moms are doing all the right things, working full time or two or three part-time jobs, but they can’t get out of the really awful housing situation that they’re in.
“We offer them a path for affordable home ownership through a program like this,” she added.
Habitat NYC accepts anyone who want to volunteer. Visit habitatNYC.org to sign up to volunteer for a fall or winter build.
“If you’ve never picked up a hammer, we love it, just come on site,” Lippman said.