Today a group of 30 volunteers from Robert A.M. Stern Architects spent the day renovating two houses in Queens, part of Habitat for Humanity New York City's Queens Phase Two project, which will restore 23 abandoned, dilapidated properties acquired from the New York City Housing Authority to create affordable single-family houses for New York families. One team, led by RAMSA Partner Daniel Lobitz, waterproofed the foundation walls, installed blocking between floor joists, and built a good portion of the roof—cutting plywood, lifting it into place, and nailing it onto the rafters—at Habitat NYC's first-ever new construction single-family house; and the other, led by RAMSA's Model Shop Director Tehniyet Masood, who coordinated the firm's involvement, framed new interior walls, insulated the basement, broke up existing pavement with sledgehammers, and built an outdoor deck at a house that had been abandoned for nearly two decades. Sarah Hoffman and Lukasz Miara from RAMSA's Human Resources Department organized meals and transportation for the two teams.
Habitat NYC builds, preserves, and advocates for quality affordable homes throughout the five boroughs for hard-working low-to-moderate-income families by engaging volunteers with opportunity to participate in rebuilding their surrounding communities and uniting all New Yorkers around the cause of affordable housing. Habitat NYC is a nonprofit housing developer that works with both government agencies and philanthropic donors to offer hard-working New Yorkers to build equity, financial stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership and financial education. Habitat homebuyers—often including single parents, seniors, and public-service employees—earn 50% to 80% of area median income, have stable employment history and decent credit scores, agree to fulfill a "sweat equity" component, and participate in financial and homeownership education. Habitat homeowners attain higher levels of education, more stable employment, better health outcomes, and are more likely to be civically engaged in their communities.