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Housing Group evived Under New Leadership

By Nicole A. Sherry
Staff Reporter

After two years of little activity, the MIT Chapter of Habitat for Humanity was revived last spring by Odysseas D. Kostas '95 and Adam P. London '95, its current co-presidents.

The MIT group is affiliated with the worldwide Habitat for Humanity organization. The purpose of this group is to provide affordable housing for needy families. The Boston chapter obtains land, often by donation, and constructs homes, using strictly the labor of its volunteers and donated or purchased materials.

These houses are then sold to families, chosen by a selection committee which makes judgments primarily on relative financial need. The families are given a 20-year no-interest loan and must contribute "sweat equity," which consists of donated labor toward the construction of theirs and others' houses, London said.

"The families end up paying about the same amount each month as they would otherwise pay for rent and they get a house out of it," London said.

Over 100 on mailing list

This fall, the MIT chapter had a large turnout at the Activities Midway and currently has over 100 people on its mailing list, London said. The group's leaders have been encouraged by the amount of interest and are working to find projects to work on.

The group has had four events this year. On three Saturdays, 10 to 15 people helped construct a four-family house on West Cottage Street in Roxbury, a project currently being undertaken by the Boston chapter. The MIT students worked from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., putting up insulation and wallboard. Participants say that the work was not particularly labor intensive.

"It was pretty interesting. After a while you get the hang of it and realize you're helping put up a house where someone will live," said Jeffrey W. Temple '95.

"It was a lot of fun and a good way to get to know people," said Jih Iun '96.

The MIT chapter also took part in a Walk for Housing fundraiser, in which volunteers collected contributions for each mile they walked.

The group does not have any activities planned for the rest of the semester, but will start on two new construction projects at the end of January.

The group is limited in that they can only work on projects sponsored by the Boston chapter, London said. However, they are planning on becoming involved with the work of both the Providence and the Worcester chapters in the future, he said.

"We are happy about the number of people involved already and we're always looking for new members," London added.