PLNU helps with affordable, eco-friendly solution to global housing crisis
Friday, June 27, 2008
San Diego
Point Loma Nazarene University is helping Lazarian World Homes make a difference in Tecate, Mexico.

Lazarian World Homes is a nonprofit organization formed through a partnership of Point Loma Nazarene University, Baylor University, and the Armenian Relief and Development Agency. Using Lazarian Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) polystyrene foam blocks, which are inexpensive and eco-friendly, Lazarian teams are building homes, classrooms, churches, and community buildings. All the buildings are sustainable, well-insulated, and seismically sound with an economic life of 40 to 50 years.

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of the Lazarian blocks and architectural plans is their ease of use. Their simple design and quick constructability means that houses can be built in days to weeks rather than months. Building teams can see their projects through from start to finish. Because the blocks are made of polystyrene, they are lightweight and can easily be handled by those with less physical strength.

“The ease, simplicity, and speed with which these buildings are constructed make it an ideal project to plug college students into,” said Rob Gailey, assistant professor of business and director of the Armenian Center for International Development at Point Loma Nazarene University. “With the growth of our international development studies major, we are excited to have such a viable, practical, and impactful partnership that provides our students with a hands-on experience helping to provide shelter to impoverished communities.”

According to Kenn Coil, president of Lazarian World Homes, “The key genius for the blocks is their simplicity. We have only four pieces. They don’t require professional workers.”

The team is currently working on building a seminary, consisting of eight buildings, in Tecate. The project is scheduled to be completed before July 11, 2008.

All building plans, information, and expertise are provided free to whoever is interested. The Lazarian World Homes goal is to spread this quick, responsible method of building worldwide, providing desperately needed shelter for the world’s poor. They are looking to train project managers in Mexico and other countries to continue the work.

As word has spread about the Lazarian homes, so has interest from around the world. Coil and his team have been contacted by groups in Australia, Brazil, Uganda, and India, and they are headed back to Armenia in August (the first work there was completed in May 2007). In September, they will take part in a mass building effort in Mexico with a large group of San Diego builders and contractors. They’ve also been contacted by Habitat for Humanity and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

For more information, please contact PLNU's Christine Spicer at (619) 849-2925 or cspicer@pointloma.edu. Additional information can be found at www.lazarianworldhomes.com and www.pointloma.edu/ArmenianCenter/LazarianWorldHomes.  
--PLNU
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