St. John’s University students’ ‘Shack-a-Thon’ spotlights affordable housing crisis

Courtesy of Gianna Bologna

In an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing affordable housing crisis and the rising number of homeless in New York City more than 200 St. John’s University students participated in the fifth annual “Shack-a-Thon” last week.

The students erected a half dozen shacks on the school’s Great Lawn during a three-day exercise hosted by the Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter.

“Living on a college campus can mean living in a bubble and people are not aware of the extent of the crisis until they graduate and try to find a place of their own,” SJU Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter President Gianna Bologna said. “The shacks are decorated to promote each of the organizations participating but one wall each are reserved for a social message like ‘63,000 people in shelters in NYC’ in order to reach students who are walking by.”

As for the affordable housing crisis, the de Blasio administration announced recently that a record 10,099 new homes had been financed and over 24,000 homes had been preserved in 2018; however, the adult population growth in the city surpasses the increase in housing stock.

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward our vision by building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with families in need of decent and affordable housing. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. St. John’s University and its community are known for its Vincentian mission to help those in need.

“This year Shack-a-Thon raise more than $2,000 and that goes straight to Habitat,” said Bologna, a senior majoring in biology.

 Meanwhile, more than 1,250 students joined together to raise more than $169,000 for the fight against cancer at the 14th annual St. John’s University Relay for Life. It was a new fundraising record for the school, which has sponsored the event since 2006. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday April 12, participants representing 76 teams, clubs, fraternities and sororities, marched throughout the night circling the basketball court inside Carnesecca Arena.

The event benefited the American Cancer Society.

More from Around New York