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FSU student volunteers spending Spring Break building homes

Members of FSU’s Habitat for Humanity chapter are spending Spring Break and upcoming weeks building homes in order to eliminate substandard housing in Tallahassee. They will build houses at Capital City Estates in southern Tallahassee. The organization’s goals are to raise money for Habitat houses, educate the community about poverty and coordinate volunteer opportunities, including house builds.

“Many people do not fully understand the work of Habitat for Humanity,” said Katherine Hoops, president of FSU Habitat. “It is not a give-away program. Homeowners dedicate hundreds of hours of sweat equity to building their own home, and they pay back the cost of building with a no-interest loan.”

Habitat houses are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build more Habitat houses. Habitat members participate in weekly builds, doing everything from framework construction to painting and landscaping.

“You get involved and actually do hands-on projects,” said Stacey Cleveland, an FSU Habitat executive board member who helped build three houses. “It gives you a sense of fulfillment. You have personally made a difference in the life of another person.”

Habitat for Humanity is always accepting applications from families in need of shelter. The family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. Every Habitat affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families who receive Habitat houses.

For Habitat members, the completion of a house build is a memorable experience. “At the end of the day, I see that I have helped put a solid roof over someone’s head who couldn’t otherwise have one,’ said FSU habitat co-president Alan Velarde.

Habitat is a worldwide, grassroots movement. There are more than 2,100 active affiliates in 100 countries and all U.S. states. Habitat has built more than 175,000 houses around the world, providing more than 750,000 people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent and affordable shelter. For more information about the Florida State Habitat, call (850) 644-3285 or visit