That gaggle of street walkers in Cupertino on Sunday was no cause for concern—the 500 or so people were part of the Habitat Walk Home event supporting the Habitat for Humanity Silicon Valley project on .
This was a first effort of this kind of walk and it was expected to draw about 300 people but “all of a sudden it began to mushroom” with community support, said Don Varney, faith relations manager for Habitat for Humanity Silicon Valley.
“We had close to 100 walk-ins that weren’t even registered,” Varney said.
The event, which began at church near the intersection of Stevens Creek and De Anza Boulevards and headed to the Cleo Avenue construction site, was more than just a fundraiser.
“We wanted it to be a community awareness event,” Varney said to highlight that there is a need in the community for affordable low-income housing.
The four homes on Cleo Avenue pose a unique applicant requirement in that they are two-bedroom homes and can house no more than four people. Applicant families with more than one child expected to live in the home could only apply if both children are the same gender.
The fact that 60 families have already passed through the initial application process was an achievement to Habitat organizers.
“We have had lots of people apply but did not qualify,” said Habitat spokeswoman Erin Spaulding. “That 60 qualified, we’re pretty pleased with actually.”
The final application stage won't occur until the project receives full permitting from the City of Cupertino, which Spaulding said she expects to come through in about 45 days.
Another unique aspect of the Cleo Avenue project is the “All Faiths” home. Faith organizations from all over the Bay Area are coming together to help build one of the homes at the Cupertino site.
Sunday’s walk drew walkers from all over the Bay Area, too. They came from Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Campbell and San Jose, organizers said.
For the $25 paid by individuals—$60 for a family—walkers were lead by the Homestead High School marching band and given a T-shirt, water bottle, and lunch, which was donated by , and prepared by the Holy Names, a men’s group from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
The total for how much money was raised by the event isn’t complete yet, but Varney said he estimates it will be around $20,000—much of which came through support by companies such as Whole Foods, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco, plus Home Depot and Peet’s Coffee that provided beverage stations for the walkers.
And if Kristen Woods, a national account manager for Hewlett-Packard can put things in place she’d like to develop a computer literacy program for the Habitat families. The program is still in its very early stages, she said, but Varney is very excited about the possibility of an HP-led volunteer program to assist families in learning how to use computers.