Dec 042005
Authors: Mandy Billings

Students interested in joining the CSU Habitat for Humanity chapter are invited to attend the group's final meeting of the semester at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Clark A205. A $20 membership is required, which includes a t-shirt and unlimited building hours on the house. No previous construction experience or knowledge is necessary.

CSU's chapter of Habitat for Humanity broke ground on their first sponsored home Saturday along with the home's future owner Ana Speer , her sons Chris , 12, and Tyler , 5, and co-sponsors GMAC Mortgage and the Fort Collins Board of Realtors.

"The fact that CSU would get together and do this for a family is one of the biggest things they could do," Speer said. "We're so grateful for this opportunity. I just can't believe it."

Fort Collins Women Build and the Vineyard Church also broke ground on their sponsored homes Saturday, which along with CSU's sponsored house will make up a triplex located in northeastern Fort Collins.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that helps build homes for families who earn 50 percent or lower of their community's medium income level, said Candace Mayo , executive director for Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity.

"Most people think Habitat for Humanity gives homes away, but that's simply not the case," Mayo said.

Selected homeowners must put in 300 hours of construction on their home if from a single adult family and 500 hours if from a duel adult family, Mayo said. In addition, they must provide $1,000 as a down payment and are responsible for paying off a zero interest mortgage, which is held by Habitat for Humanity.

"The CSU students have worked so hard to raise money. They've been wonderful and enthusiastic all along the way," Mayo said. "Now they get to see the fruits of their labors."

Drew Henschen , president of the CSU Habitat for Humanity chapter and senior zoology major, said the student organization spent two and a half years fundraising to earn the $25,000 required to co-sponsor the home.

"People who sponsor are asked to raise $50,000," Henschen said. "Now that we're with the Board of Realtors and GMAC Mortgage, we only need to raise half of that. It's a great partnership with them that we're blessed to have."

Ann Szynskie , CSU Habitat for Humanity fundraising chair and junior construction management major, said activities like operating concession stands at Denver Broncos home games, annual Survivor Island fundraisers and an ongoing letter writing campaign brought in around $15,000 thus far. The full $25,000 is due upon the home's completion.

"We're still getting money in from everything," Szynskie said. "I just got $1,000 in the mail last Tuesday from the letter writing campaign. We have just over $9,000 left, but I'm not really worried about not having enough money."

Bob Hand , Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity Project Manager, said foundation digging at the construction site should begin in the next week or two.

"After the first of the year we hope to start framing the homes," Hand said. "It's going to take patience working with three different groups on this triplex, but it should also be great fun."

Karen Meyer , Fort Collins RE/MAX real estate agent and volunteer with CSU's co-sponsored home, said she was thankful to work with CSU's Habitat for Humanity chapter members.

"I've been very impressed with the students' level of commitment in their busy worlds and that they make time to help with affordable housing in Fort Collins," Meyer said. "It's exciting to see younger people giving back to their community. It's inspiring."

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