For UCSB students interested in a future in construction or just helping out in the community, a volunteer fair this weekend may have exactly what they are looking for.
The Southern Santa Barbara County and UCSB chapters of Habitat for Humanity will host a volunteer fair this Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon in the lobby of the AT&T Building at 5383 Hollister Ave. in an attempt to fill over 150 volunteer positions for their first local housing project.
During the three-hour fair, Habitat for Humanity committee members will provide information about the different areas of work available to volunteers. They are looking to recruit volunteers for construction, church relations, development, public relations, family selection and partnership, and more.
“We hope to have a constant flow of people for the three hours,” said Megan Guttmann, third-year business economics major and volunteer coordinator for the UCSB branch of Habitat for Humanity. “People are welcome to visit the different tables that interest them. They can stay as long as they want.”
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide affordable homes for low-income families through volunteer labor. The organization was originally established in 1979, but the Southern Santa Barbara County chapter did not open until 2000. The group, based in Goleta, will begin its first project in fall. It will consist of three new houses off upper State Street near Highway 101 in Santa Barbara and is scheduled for completion within 18 months.
The project will provide housing for three families. A lengthy selection process will be required to determine the families’ level of need, willingness to become partners in the program and ability to repay the no-interest loan to purchase their home. The selected families are also required to invest hundreds of hours of labor into building their homes and the homes of others. This allows the volunteers to work alongside the families who will benefit from their labor.
“There’s so much to do, and everyone is welcome to participate,” Guttman said. “I think that if you have extra time, it’s an amazing organization to volunteer for.”
The Santa Barbara area lacks sufficient low-income housing; however, Habitat for Humanity cannot create new homes without volunteers, Guttman said.
“Affordable housing is really needed in Santa Barbara because of the high living expenses,” Guttman said. “We want to let the community know about this upcoming project because without our volunteers, we would have nothing.”