Culver City Observer -

By Tara Egan
Observer Reporter 

Kiwis Help Habitat For Humanity Build Homes in Culver City

 

November 8, 2018

Tara Egan

Above: Kiwi volnteers at te build site. Below lwft: David Duarte (HfH site supervisor) with volunteers

A group of New Zealanders and volunteers for Habitat For Humanity were busy last weekend working on six new homes on Globe Avenue in Culver City.

Habitat For Humanity is an organization that helps build and provide housing to families and individuals who are in need of more affordable housing. According to its website, "Los Angeles ranks as one of the least affordable housing areas in the U.S."

Once the volunteers complete their work, there will be 10 new family-sized homes off on Glove Avenue, just off Washington Boulevard, and 10 families are already set to move in.

This specific building project has been in the works for about 10 years, said Habitat For Humanity Site Supervisor, David Duerte. The families first had to get approval to build on the lots. After they reached an agreement with Culver City, construction started in April.

On an average build day, there are 45 volunteers with only three paid Habitat For Humanity staff members on site.

"About 85 to 90 percent of the work is done by volunteers, so we kind of show them the ropes and then they do all of the work and it's just amazing, you know, bringing a group together," Duerte said. "The three of us that work here could not possibly get all the work done ourselves."

One of the groups helping out last weekend was Kiwis in LA, which were sponsored by Broadleaf Meats and New Zealand Seafoods, two significant New Zealand importers based out of Southern California.

Tara Egan

"We are a group of Kiwis living in Southern California," said Mitchell Wong, a Kiwi volunteer. "We've lived in Southern California anywhere from the last 5 years up to the last forty years, and it is a collective way for a group of New Zealanders as part of a bigger New Zealand community in Southern California to give back to a community that's given well to us."

Other volunteers come from the families aided by Habitat For Humanity. They give back to the organization by working with the volunteers to build their own homes and their neighbors' homes. Overall, they put in 500 hours of "sweat equity," Duerte said. He added that single parent homes are only required 250 hours of labor.

If you're interested in volunteering here in Los Angeles, or if you're looking to apply for affordable housing from Habitat For Humanity, please visit the website HabitatLA.org.

 

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