CSUB, Habitat for Humanity fixing home for Oildale couple

Second year of CSUB "Alternative Spring Break"
Posted at 7:11 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-10 22:11:04-04

The Cal State Bakersfield "Sensational Sophomores" are at it again.

The campus leadership program partnered with Habitat for Humanity to spend Spring Break helping an Oildale couple with their future home. During the week, students will be building a fence, demolishing a shed, performing landscape work and fixing the inside of a home on Arvin Street in Oildale.

"I wasn't really seeing that I was going to be able to own a house, even though I wanted to," said Sherman Tatum, who will be moving into the home with his wife once it's all finished. "And they're making it possible for me."

The 62-year-old Tatum works at The Mission at Kern County, a local non-profit that helps take care of the homeless population. He says he's low-income, stating that he's never owned his own house.

The partnership with CSUB and Habitat for Humanity will allow him to do just that after he and his wife qualified for the program.

"They're going to purchase this house, it's not a giveaway program," said Tony Miranda, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Golden Empire when asked about qualifications for the program. "They have to demonstrate that there really is need for safe, decent and affordable housing, and they also have to invest their own labor into this home."

The Tatums checked off all those boxes. They'll begin helping the students with the home on Tuesday. For now, the students are focused on having a good time while getting the job done.

"Everybody who wants to be here is having such a good time," said Betsy Garcia, president of Sensational Sophomores.

"We don't even have to go to Mexico or Cancun or on Vacation, this is our vacation."

The students will be helping with the project until Friday. This comes a year after the Alternative Spring Break Program began in 2016, when the group helped renovate a local community center.

Meanwhile, Tatum says he plans to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity once the project is over because of everything they've done for him.