Mark Grosch was recently awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by Congresswoman Lois Capps “in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community.” Mark, who has been a Research Assistant for Professor Golledge for seven years, also works for Devereaux (a non-profit care group for the developmentally disabled) and, in his “spare time,” is a volunteer for the Santa Barbara chapter of Habitat for Humanity of which he became President in October 2004. To quote Habitat’s mission statement, “Habitat for Humanity seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races, and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.”
One of Mark’s first duties as President was to officiate at the chapter’s first ground breaking for three new homes in Santa Barbara in early November, 2004, an event attended by Mayor Marty Blum, (former) Assemblywoman Hanna Beth Jackson, City Councilwoman Helene Schneider, Housing Authority CEO Rob Pearson, Congresswoman Lois Capps, Site Selection Chair Dennis Peterson, and Santa Barbara Habitat Executive Director Joyce McCullough. The Via Lucero project will provide a homeownership opportunity to three local families that earn between 30% and 50% of area median income. The homes will be built with volunteer labor, as well as donated materials and services, and they will be sold to families at no profit with a 25-30 year mortgage that will not exceed 30-35% of each family’s annual budget.
Mark’s award was presented at Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Board Meeting on September 12. At a time when the nation is focused on rebuilding housing in the Gulf States after the recent devastation of hurricane Katrina, it is humbling to note that Santa Barbara also has problems with homelessness—and it is inspiring to see people like Mark doing something about it.