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Les Scheinfeld- Habitat for Humanity
May 13, 2005 @ 12:00 am EDT
At LIMBA we like to promote infrastructure that will have a large and lasting impact on the quality of life on Long Island. We also give voice to those people that embrace needs, even if the scale is small.
Habitat for Humanity’s Les Scheinfeld made a presentation this morning at a LIMBA meeting. Astoria Federal Savings was the sponsor of the meeting.
Habitat has been building houses around the world since 1988. They have built 88 of those houses on Long Island. They will build another 12 by 2006. Given the need for affordable housing, this does not seem to be an adequate response to the problem. But, as usual, there is more to the story.
The labor needed to produce these houses is voluntary. Astoria Federal Savings Bank helps fund the organization, and Astoria personnel give their free time to the projects. They also encourage other businesses such as Lowe’s to provide materials and labor. Unions have contributed labor and training for the volunteers. Skilled retired people give a lot of their time too. What emerges is a picture of people helping people. “Barn raising” in America is not dead.
Alexis DeToqueville, a Frenchman traveling through America in the 19th century, made some interesting observations on the way Americans behave as a community. He observed that Americans tend to create ad hoc solutions to problems as they see them emerge. That was, and is, the spirit that inspires this call to action. Habitat has, in my opinion, has been a catalyst in furthering additional community action. They portray this communal effort as fun. It is fun. Learning and building creates satisfaction, a sense of neighborhood, and, oh yes, housing.
The program this morning was inspiring and thought provoking. Adequate housing is so fundamental to our needs. Most of the people in the room either have a home, or a home is a realizable dream. I think it is important that the workforce has a decent place to live. Habitat is making their effort.
On the 26th of May the HIA is holding its trade show. THE BEST TRADE SHOW IN TOWN. LIMBA will have a display booth showing the achievements of LIMBA. Paul Townsend was justifiably proud of LIMBA, and we will continue to have an impact on the shaping of Long Island future. Please plan on attending. www.hia-li.org for details