Volunteers Support Greater Plainfield Habitat’s West Seventh Street Village
The New Jersey Future Leaders group at commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. has teamed up with the Greater Plainfield Habitat for Humanity and the Rutgers University Habitat for Humanity Chapter to help create affordable housing in partnership with New Jersey low-income families.
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds simple, decent houses with the help of homeowner families. In August, the organization broke ground on its West Seventh Street Village in Plainfield. The five-home complex contains two duplexes and one single-family residence. Additionally, Rutgers’ Habitat chapter last year pledged to raise $100,000 to fund the construction of the single-family home there, marking the largest donation ever made by a campus chapter.
Over the past two weeks, 32 Cushman & Wakefield employees have worked on the Rutgers-funded house. “We had such a strong response to our call for volunteers that we split the group into two separate crews and added a second build day,” noted Christa DiLalo Petti, a Cushman & Wakefield research analyst based in the firm’s East Rutherford, N.J., office, who organized the Habitat for Humanity effort. “Everyone involved is so impressed by how this organization is working to provide a hand-up for families within our community. Being part of that is a fantastic experience.”
The Greater Plainfield Habitat is one of nearly 2,000 Habitat affiliates working to create affordable housing worldwide. “We are so pleased to gain this local partnership with Cushman & Wakefield,” commented Rev. Jeremy Montgomery, executive director at the Greater Plainfield Habitat for Humanity. “It provides a powerful example of how the corporate and non-profit sectors can work together to combat poverty housing on a local level.”
Cushman & Wakefield also is working internally to raise money to support the Rutgers effort. “These students are doing something extraordinary, and we are committed to assisting the next generation of young leaders achieve their goal,” Petti said. “The real estate tie-in brings this initiative even closer to home for our firm’s Future Leaders group and our co-workers, who are showing great generosity.”
Locally, the Greater Plainfield Habitat has built homes with 35 families since 1989. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with Habitat’s affordable mortgages with 0%-interest rates. Every partner family devotes at least 200 hours per adult of sweat equity to help build their home or a neighbor’s home. Greater Plainfield Habitat supports partner families with training in budgeting, home and landscape maintenance and how to be a good neighbor.
Cushman & Wakefield Future Leaders is a national networking initiative involving the firm’s mid-level brokerage professionals. Part of its mission involves supporting local philanthropic organizations like Habitat for Humanity. In New Jersey, the group has worked with other worthy groups as well, including Eva’s Village in Paterson.