NORFOLK, Va. – A few months ago, employees of Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads got an e-mail that essentially stated, “Frank on the roof. Discuss in the morning.”
Frank Hruska is the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads. He said he came up with the idea to have him spend a week on top of the roof of the non-profit, located at 900 Tidewater Drive. It would be a fundraiser.
Hruska is trying to raise $250,000 to replace the roof of the building that was built in 1956. He says solar panels will then be installed, which will save the non-profit organization $18,000 or more a year.
Hruska said they are committed to keeping that building and said it works well to house their offices, a construction warehouse and the ReStore thrift shop.
“That money can be refocused onto affordable housing... more affordable housing for local, low-income families right here in South Hampton Roads,” Hruska stated.
The executive director climbed onto the roof Sunday, September 26 and plans to stay there until Sunday, October 3. Area restaurants have provided his meals, and a portable toilet was brought onto the rooftop.
Hruska has invited environmental groups and local leaders to visit him atop the roof. On Monday, his first full day of the fundraiser, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer paid a visit.
“Government can’t do everything. We rely on people like Habitat for Humanity to go into the community and help with the housing,” Mayor Dyer commented, "but also, the awareness about solar panels and putting green roofs up, which we are doing in our schools. We got a multi-million bond referendum coming up to deal with these things. There are some small things that can be done, and there are a lot of big things that can be done.”
Hruska says the affordable housing problem has become a crisis.
“We do our bit by building affordable housing by using volunteers, local contractors to try and get a non-profit discount, and by doing this, we can build affordable houses that provide a family a foundation to raise their children in,” explained Hruska.