Two years ago, Enrique and Sonia Lopez and their three sons were living in a one-bedroom, one bath apartment in Long Beach while they struggled to save enough money to move into a larger home. Today, they are proud owners of a three-bedroom house.
Their dream of owning a home was made possible through Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles and funding from corporate partners such as Edison International who provided a grant under the Long Beach Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.
“When we saw Edison International come and help, we were very surprised because we did not know the company could come out and help people,” said Sonia, who works as a child care worker for the Long Beach Unified School District. “We were just happy to know that there were other people willing to help build other people’s homes.”
Since 2010, Edison International has contributed more than $85,000 in grants to Habitat for Humanity (all monies are from shareholders) and its employees have contributed 1,763 volunteer hours building and rehabilitating houses.
This past Saturday, Elizabeth Chin, 52, was continuing that tradition of volunteering.
An administrative aide in the Transmission and Distribution Department of Southern California Edison (SCE), Edison International’s subsidiary, Chin participated in a build in Lynwood by hammering nails to install support beams to the rafters, painting eaves and installing windows. She felt a sense of pride volunteering and giving back to those who are less fortunate.
“It is a beautiful feeling to give back,” said Chin, who along with 35 other volunteers from Edison International took part in the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ Lynwood Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. “I think it speaks a lot for the company where employees can volunteer to come together and work on a project like this. This tells me that I work for a company and with co-workers that care about the people in its community.”
At this particular site in Lynwood, seven new units will be built, six of which will be two-story homes with three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.
Edison International has been a corporate partner of Habitat for Humanity since 1992, providing grants and volunteers to help build and renovate homes for underserved families. Families who receive new homes are also required to put in 500 hours of “sweat equity” during the construction of their home and of others.
“Edison International has been a long-time partner of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles,” said Steve Riskin, director of Corporate Relations, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. “They support us with generous grants and their employee volunteers who come out and do work on the homes. In fact, 80 percent of our homes are built by volunteers from companies like Edison International.”
The Lopez family realized their dream of owning a home under the Long Beach Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which started in 2010. Under that initiative, 29 homes were built or rehabilitated and three of them were new construction.
Under Habitat for Humanity’s direction, plus grant support from corporate partners including Edison International, the Lopez family — including sons Angel, 18, Anthony, 11, and Adan, 4 — became homeowners in 2011.
“Two years ago we were living in a one bedroom apartment with one bathroom and a living room,” Sonia said. “At night, the living room became a second bedroom. When I received the keys to our home, I was happy. Happy because I knew that my boys would have the space they needed to grow.”
And the Lopez boys are indeed enjoying that new space.
“My favorite place in our new home is the backyard,” Anthony said. “Now we have more space to play.”