In the United States, the cost of living continues to rise faster than the minimum wage. This means that for millions of low-income earners across the United States, affording a safe and decent place to live is a dream still out of reach.
Take San Francisco, for example. Here’s a city where the tech-industry’s boom coupled with an inadequate supply of housing for its growing population has led to the most expensive rental market in the United States. The housing crisis there has reached such epic proportions that some inhabitants have resorted to such extremes as living in the back of trucks and renting tents in the back of gardens in order to get by.
Waiting for the minimum wage to rise above the cost of living is clearly no way forward here, which is precisely the view that brought Habitat for Humanity into existence.
Founded in 1976, this international non-profit organisation has become a world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing through its “partnership housing” scheme, whereby those in need of adequate shelter work side by side with volunteers to build themselves simple, decent houses with interest-free loans.
Keen to play at least some part towards solving the city’s housing issue, a group of Qubytes embraced safety helmets and scaffolding in May, to help out for a day on one of the newest local Habitat developments, Habitat Terrace, marking the kick off of our San Francisco office’s Pledge 1% initiative.
With Habitat’s experienced construction managers ensuring that even the most DIY-averse among the team knew what they were doing, everyone had a productive day helping to build 28 single-family homes.There’s no doubt it was more physically taxing than the average day in the office. But given the benefit these housing schemes can have, there was only enthusiasm to be felt among Qubytes all day.