Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County celebrated Tuesday the start of construction of four homes for low-income families at 618 San Pascual St. in Santa Barbara.
The celebration recognized Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, which gave Habitat $150,000 for the construction of the homes, as well as Southern California Edison for its $25,000 contribution to the project.
With these gifts along with HUD funds from the city of Santa Barbara and donations of money from local individuals and foundations, Habitat has raised 78 percent of the $1.98 million needed to build the four homes.
Habitat also recognized Bob Gronendyke, who has volunteered more than 500 hours at the Habitat ReStore and who plans to volunteer every day at the San Pascual build site.
Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and representatives from Thrivent Financial, SCE, Habitat’s staff and board of directors, the partner families and community supporters gathered to celebrate the important milestone.
“By providing safe, decent, affordable homes, Habitat for Humanity opens a door for low-income families, allowing them the opportunity for increased self-esteem and self-reliance,” said Joyce McCullough, Habitat executive director. “With the stability of a permanent home, families can devote increased attention to jobs, education and health. As the crushing cycle of poverty is broken, their children benefit, their neighborhoods are revitalized and entire communities improve. We are proud to provide tangible, life-changing results for these families.”
“Our mission of helping people to combine their faith and their finances goes hand in hand with Habitat’s mission of providing affordable homes to those in need, and we’re thrilled to combine forces here in Santa Barbara,” said Brian Boyle of Thrivent Financial.
“Southern California Edison is honored to be a part of this great community project, and we look forward to the happiness and family security the participants will gain from this community supported endeavor,” said John Britton, SCE’s public affairs region manager.
The four new homes will consist of three two-bedroom, 1½-bath homes and one one-bedroom, one-bath home, which together will house 14 people. The architectural design of the homes is by local architect Detty Peikert, whose firm has collaborated on many other affordable housing projects in the Santa Barbara area.
Gronendyke’s commitment to Habitat is unwavering. He has helped Habitat build three homes in Santa Barbara and was one of the first Habitat ReStore volunteers.
The ReStore, at 6725 Hollister Ave., helps fund administrative costs for the affiliate by selling donated building materials. Habitat began tracking Gronendyke’s hours in August 2009,and he has already earned a 500-hours pin.
In addition to his work at Habitat, he is also an active volunteer with Direct Relief International, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the Downtown Organization and the Goleta Valley Art Association.
As a retiree, Gronendyke says his philosophy is simple: “Volunteer, contribute to my community, pay taxes and vote.”
— Jennifer Guess is a publicist.