Volunteers build for houseless

Thanks to the efforts of concerned volunteers, some fortunate individuals will have a home in which to celebrate the holidays.

The MU Habitat for Humanity student chapter is wrapping up this semester and already has plans for next year. Habitat volunteers help people with low incomes build houses.

"I think it's a good way for families with little or no income to work to have a home by working on their house," said Jeffery Ursch, Habitat public relations officer.

Members said the program has done a lot for the community.

"Basically, we've been helping the Show-Me Chapter tear down a house, and because affordable lots are becoming scarce, we'll buy a house on a lot and rebuild it from top to bottom," said Julie Alexander, director of the YMCA, which sponsors Habitat.

"We rely on the Show-Me chapter for work activities and to show us where we can be useful."

Habitat has finished two houses this semester and has started on two more, said Janet Newmann, president of the Habitat student chapter.

"We have more volunteers this year, and we've been spreading the word about what Habitat is about and getting more enthusiasm this semester," Newmann said.

While the program has been active lately, sometimes where things have not gone as planned. The student chapter's planned fundraiser from Nov. 21-23 was canceled. They planned to ask passers-by for change.

"We had to cancel it because the Columbia Chapter of Habitat said it wasn't a good way to raise money," Ursch said. "And we didn't want to go against their wishes."

Newmann said while the fund-raiser was successful the time they had it, there were legitimate reasons to cancel it.

"It was predicted to rain and be cold, and we didn't want to risk people getting sick," she said. "So we canceled the last day and a half."

Newmann said before the event was canceled, it raised $200.

Habitat has big plans coming up.

"Next semester, we are having a benefit concert at an unknown location, and hopefully will raise lots of money," Ursch said. "There won't necessarily be one type of group but several local bands volunteering their time to help out the campus chapter."

Newmann has high hopes for the concert.

"We will be charging for admission and for the concessions, and that's how we will make our money," she said. "The money will go directly to our Habitat affiliation off campus."

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