Chino Hills will be the first city to benefit from a neighborhood revitalization program sponsored by Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity.
Income-eligible residents in the Los Serranos community who are struggling to maintain their houses may qualify for fence repairs, landscaping, painting, window replacement and minor work.
Habitat was one of six non-profit groups that asked the city for an allocation of federal funds.
The city obliged by providing $10,000 for Habitat’s “A Brush with Kindness” program. Funds will become available July 1.
Jody Gmeiner, president of Pomona Valley Habitat, said the program will begin in fall, when Habitat starts building two veteran homes on Fairway Boulevard.
Habitat offers repair subsidy.
The Habitat home on Fairway Boulevard, adjacent to Los Serranos Golf Course, is subject to errant golf balls, as evidenced by boarded windows.
By Greg Cappis, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin 4/06/14
LA Verne >> Fourteen-year-old Joe DeFina selected a flashlight app on his smartphone to illuminate the tape and cardboard boxes he and Mat Kurnik used to erect a bedroom in the grass Saturday night.
The two Damien High School freshmen and about 70 of their classmates camped in their school’s courtyard during a homeless simulation hosted by the Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity.
One of the students’ first tasks was to build their sleeping quarters — in five minutes.
“This is like mission impossible, and it’s in the dark,” said another ninth-grader, Dominic Perry.
Morgan Sternquist of the local Habitat for Humanity office led the evening’s activities, explaining to the students at the Catholic school with tuitions of about $7,800 a year just how fortunate they are.
A Habitat for Humanity sign at the event noted 1.6 billion people in the world live without adequate shelter.
Sternquist described how thousands of people in Los Angeles County must search for materials to build a shanty, find a secure location and still fret over their well-being throughout the night.
“You don’t have to worry about someone stealing from you or harming your kids in the middle of the night,” Sternquist said while showing pictures of homeless encampments in Los Angeles.
She also pointed out the boys have bathrooms available to them, and food.
While the event allowed students a glimpse into what can be an anxiety-filled lifestyle and provided a chance to earn credit for required service hours at school, the teens also learned about Habitat for Humanity’s functions and wrote letters on behalf of the organization.
Pomona Valley Habitat CEO and President Jody Gmeiner told the boys that Habitat serves hard-working families who can’t afford a healthy-living environment, like a family living in a mobile home with holes in the floor. Another example she gave was a family of four staying in a one-bedroom apartment. Or another family who slept in their living room because of heavy mold on the bedroom walls.
Habitat constructs homes for those types of families or individuals and helps them with a payment plan, even as the faith-based organization sometimes struggles to build its own finances.
“When we’re blessed and we receive a piece of land,” Sternquist said, “we have no money to build a house.”
So she led the boys in a writing assignment, asking elected officials to make a consistent funding stream for affordable housing a priority during their terms in office.
One of La Verne’s own elected officials stopped by to encourage the students to continue their philanthropy quests.
“Reach out and help others,” Mayor Don Kendrick said. “You will never be happier.”
Damien High School student Lucas Hidalgo, 17, of Chino Hills builds his cardboard home for the night Saturday on campus. Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity conducted a homeless simulation for more than 70 Damien High students. Photo by Frank Perez