IU’s Kelley School of Business, Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County, and the Whirlpool Corporation are collaborating to bring quality and efficient homes to families of Bloomington’s Habitat program as part of the House + Home World Tour. This year’s project has the support of over 300 volunteers.
Whirlpool Corporation, longtime partner of the business school, specializes in making homes more affordable with energy saving techniques and new appliances that cut back on utilities. Working with Habitat for Humanity, Whirlpool Corporation started the House + Home World project, which provides safe homes and community opportunities for potential homeowners.
On Oct. 5, a home at a neighborhood in which Habitat has done several other projects in Monroe County, Osage Place, began being built with the intention of having the house complete by Nov. 5. With the help of Habitat, Whirlpool Corporation and the Kelley Institute for Social Impact, the build allows students and staff of IU to get some hands-on experience and a chance to work as part of a community.
“The fact that we involve students in this and get such a great response with these projects is such a good feeling,” Joshua Gildea, senior lecturer of marketing and volunteer at the build site, said. “I know it may sound cliché but working together with the students and Habitat and being able to meet the families is so rewarding.”
The Kelley School for Social Impact, Whirlpool Corporation and Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County all take on different responsibilities when it comes to pooling resources for these builds. Habitat brings in the land and construction experience, as well as preparing the owners of the home to move in and use the home efficiently. Whirlpool Corporation provides funding, sponsorships and materials, and KISI provides volunteers from IU.
“It’s a big, hodge-podge, happy connecting family,” Shawna Meyer-Niederman, associate director at KISI, said.
This new home being built at 2023 S. Bernard Drive is the 12th build over the 12 years this project has been happening. This is the first year the home is being constructed entirely on sight. In years prior, the houses were constructed mostly on campus and transferred via trailer to the build site for assembly.
“Every house is a house to build, and while there have been some challenges, it gives students a great opportunity to get off campus and work together as a community,” Meyer-Niederman said.
While this is the 12thhome being built in this collaboration, this is the 225th home for Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County. Whirlpool Corporation and Habitat have worked together in Monroe County since 2010, collaborating on builds and implementing methods of home efficiency through the BuildBetter initiative. The BuildBetter initiative is a special grant for applying energy efficiency and maintainability to the homes allowing for lower utility costs. This includes solar panels being the main source of energy for new homes.
“We certainly would not be able to do any of this without community involvement,” Wendi Goodlett, CEO and President of Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County, said. “I think it’s great that Whirlpool and IU are such a big help in these projects. It really feels like it gets students and staff out of their campus bubble.”
This new home being built at 2023 S. Bernard Drive will serve as the end of Whirlpool Corporation’s yearlong House + Home World Tour. The build will conclude Nov. 5, and the home will be available for its new owner, Maria Magno-Perez and her children.
Families are eligible for the Habitat program if they meet three criteria: willingness to partner with Habitat, need for housing, and ability to pay back their affordable mortgage. Before closing on a house, adult members of families must also do 250 hours of volunteer work at Habitat.