University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Senior Carly Juzwik is graduating with a degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Women’s Studies with a Business emphasis. With the summer here, Juzwik said, “Post-graduation seemed like the perfect time to invest in something that matters.” Some of the most common post-graduation service, according to The Balance Careers, are Teach for America, Peace Corps, and Americorps. Juzwik decided to ride a different path for her post-grad summer.
That something that matters to Juzwik is an organization called Bike & Build. Juzwik explained, “their mission is to civically engage young adults while giving back to the affordable housing cause.” So, what is affordable housing? On their website, Bike & Build explained that, “A home is affordable if payments plus taxes and basic utilities do not exceed 30% of a household’s gross income.”
Juzwik said, “I heard about this trip through two of my coworkers who previously rode and it sounded like an incredible opportunity for so many reasons. Housing insecurity is at the root of so many injustices.”
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development stated, on their website, that, “A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.” HUD’s website also said that about 12 million, “renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing.”
Juzwik shared, “Without a stable, affordable place to live families are forced to give up other necessities. By providing a home, all other things come easier. Families can afford to put food on the table, get health insurance, and so may other basic needs.”
The National Low Income Housing Coalition states on their website, “No state has an adequate supply of affordable rental housing for the lowest income renters.” The coalition went on to break down what they call “The Gap”. NLIHC explained, “Only 35 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low income renter households.”
Juzwik provided a rundown of what the trip will consist of. “This trip will take about two and a half months, we are riding all the way up the east coast, from Key West, Florida to the Canadian border in Maine!”
Juzwik went on to add, “Between every two to three bike days we have a build day where we work alongside community partners and help with their local affordable housing projects.” One big aspect of the the trip is the mandatory fundraising for each participant.
Juzwik said, “Each rider is expected to raise $5,000 that goes to the affordable housing cause, so I am still accepting donations from those who are willing/able.” The link to donate to Juzwik’s ride can be found here.