(above: The Perez-Herrera Family at the 2019 Builders Blitz)
Habitat LA celebrated the completion of its first-ever Home Builders Blitz May 10 with ribbon-cutting ceremonies for four new houses in Los Angeles. Each of the four Habitat homes was adopted by a different professional construction company-Clark Construction, The Gilbane Building Company, Turner Construction, and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company who donated time and money to build the houses from the ground up in just two weeks.
“Unbelievable things happen when we find partners who match our energy and our commitment to building affordable housing in Los Angeles,” said Habitat LA Board of Directors member John Sykes. He thanked the four construction companies participating in the blitz—Clark Construction, The Gilbane Building Company, Turner Construction, and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company—as well as all the individuals from those companies and their subcontractors for doing the heavy lifting.
Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz is a national program that brings together professional builders for one shared purpose – to build safe and affordable housing for families in need of a safe place to call home.
“What a blessing this is,” said Erin Rank, Habitat LA President and CEO. “In Habitat LA’s traditional model, this project could have taken us up to 12 months to complete.” Thanks to our four builder partners, the Alvanez family, the Magdaleno Family, the Marks Family, and the Perez-Herrera Family will be able to move into their homes much sooner.
The County of Los Angeles donated the land for the four houses as part of a multi-year partnership with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission. The project also received generous foundation donations from Bomel Construction, Largo Concrete, and Trademark Construction.
Kwaku Gyabaah, Vice President of Clark Construction, praised not only the speed, but also the safety of the entire build: not a single injury was reported during the entire two weeks. He presented the keys to the house to Elizabeth Magdaleno and her two sons, Francisco and Nicholas.
Mary Veldkamp, Project Manager for Gilbane Building noted that her company had at least 12 employees and over 100 volunteers working on the home they built for Doris Marks, her daughter Nidra, and her grandson Isaiah.
Casey Clark, Project Manager for Whiting-Turner Contacting, celebrated the “unsung heroes who actually put together” the house for Maria Alvanez and her son Luis. “We should all be really proud of what this team put together,” he said.
Christina Alvarado, Procurement Manager for Turner Construction, commended everyone involved in the Home Builders Blitz for their sense of partnership: the partnership between Habitat and the families, the collaboration between each company and its subcontractors, and the cooperation among the four builders. Although the four contractors are usually competitors, they worked collegially on the four houses to get them all done in the short time frame. “This spirit of partnership shows the great humanity and generosity you all have,” said Alvarado.
Wendy Perez-Herrera, who will occupy the house built by Turner Construction along with her husband Jose and their daughters Samantha and Vanessa, was overjoyed upon receiving the keys to her new house. “I’ve lived in public housing for over 20 years, and we’ve tried to buy a home for the last 10 years. It’s so hard; I never even dared to think that this dream could ever come true. But ever since I met Habitat for Humanity, good news has kept coming our way.”
Each solar-ready house features an all-electric design, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping, cool-roof shingles, rainwater recapture systems. Two of the homes feature three bedrooms and two baths; the other two are four-bedroom, two-bath residences.