Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kean University Fraternity Iota Phi Theta Helping Build a New House for Homeless Family in Newark, New Jersey

Members of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity at Kean University,
Hoboken, New Jersey

Vacant Lot Purchased by Fraternity in Newark

Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Kean University

Fraternities all across the country have taken a lot of heat lately. In response, a group of young men in a fraternity at Kean University in Hoboken, NJ are dedicating time and effort to putting a fresh new face on how the community sees them.

The members of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity is working with Kean University and the Sierra House Homeless Shelter at 11 South Maple Ave, East Orange NJ.

The goal is to raise enough money to buy a property and build a two family home. 

Tosin Oduwole, a senior in business administration at Kean University, said the goal is to let a homeless family live in one side of the home and rent out the other.

The fraternity was able to jumpstart the project by pooling their funds and purchasing a vacant lot through the city of Newark’s Valentine’s Day land sale.  For $1,000 they became the owners of the land on condition that they are able to build a home on the property and someone lives in it for five years.

 “Right now, it’s an empty lot,” Oduwole said. “We have a vision of what it could look like and we are going to work hard to make the vision a reality.”

“We want to do something for the community that has high potential for a long-term effect.  The plan is to build the house and let a homeless family live there rent free.”

Donations and voluntary support from the community has been pouring in. The have picked out plans for a pre-fabricated home and worked with Sierra House, an East Orange nonprofit that works with homeless families to identify a needy family. They were able to get approval for the site plan from city officials and have been making visits to the land with a contractor.

They are aiming at $100,000.  Once the funds are available, it will take just 12 days to build the house and get it ready to move in.  

We’re getting a lot of support from the community from students, police officers, military and from retailers.

They also hope that this project serves as an example and motivates other fraternities across the nation to refocus and redouble their efforts in their local communities.

“We’re doing what we can to change the way people look at fraternities, and show people the good we are really capable of.”

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