Habi­tat finds its fam­ily

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - NEWS - AN­DREW PHILIPS an­drew­philips@live.ca

Mother Na­ture has been kind to a lo­cal home-build­ing pro­ject that now has its oc­cu­pants.

Britta Ger­win, direc­tor of devel­op­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity’s On­tario Gate­way North branch, said the two fam­i­lies for the du­plex now be­ing con­structed on Bay Street have been cho­sen and were no­ti­fied this week by Habi­tat vol­un­teer Mar­garet Phillips, who chairs the Oril­lia/Lake Coun­try selec­tion com­mit­tee.

Phillips said both fam­i­lies were elated to be cho­sen from a field that was nar­rowed to seven fi­nal ap­pli­cants.

“She was ec­static,” Phillips said of the sin­gle mother of two chil­dren who will call one part of the du­plex home. “The other fam­ily are two gen­tle­men who hope to even­tu­ally adopt. One of them called the news ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic.”

Phillips said more than half of those who called in about be­ing con­sid­ered for the new home didn’t meet the selec­tion cri­te­ria.

Now that Phillips’s role for this build is over, fam­ily con­tact rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shirley Har­ris will be­gin work­ing with the fam­i­lies for the next year or so to dis­cuss sweat equity and to an­swer any ques­tions they might have.

The on­go­ing Oril­lia build­ing pro­ject re­ceived a $50,000 do­na­tion Wednesday from Walker In­dus­tries, a fifth-gen­er­a­tion fam­ily busi­ness with its roots in Ni­a­gara but with a pres­ence across North Amer­ica, in­clud­ing ag­gre­gate op­er­a­tions in Sim­coe County.

“They’re very in­volved in giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity,” said regional ag­gre­gate op­er­a­tions su­per­in­ten­dent Ryan Dosch, who pre­sented the over­sized cheque to Habi­tat staff and vol­un­teers at the Habi­tat Oril­lia Re­Store.

Lo­cal build­ing su­per­vi­sor David Aber­nethy said the foot­ings for the Bay Street home are now in place, with work be­gin­ning this week to in­stall in­su­lated con­crete form walls.

“It’s been going very well and even Mother Na­ture’s been help­ing us out lately,” Aber­nethy said of the build­ing’s progress with any­where from four to 10 work­ers in­volved on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. “Ninety-five per cent of those in­volved are vol­un­teers.”

Aber­nethy said hopes are high crews will be able to pour con­crete walls and foun­da­tions next week.

“Be­cause it’s a du­plex, there’s a fire­wall sep­a­rat­ing the two sides,” he said.

But the fall should con­tinue to be busy for Aber­nethy, who will start su­per­vis­ing the char­ity’s next build of a sin­gle-fam­ily home on Vic­to­ria Street by Novem­ber, mean­ing an­other area fam­ily will also soon have a new place to call home.

“We al­ready have an ex­ist­ing Habi­tat house on that street,” he said.

Be­sides com­plet­ing a 16-page ap­pli­ca­tion along with sup­port­ing ma­te­ri­als, Habi­tat hope­fuls must also agree to an in-home visit to as­sess their suit­abil­ity.

As well, the cho­sen fam­i­lies will put in 500 hours of sweat equity, which can be com­pleted through par­tic­i­pat­ing in the build or by vol­un­teer­ing at the Re­Store.

The Oril­lia builds are part of an over­all Habi­tat ini­tia­tive to con­struct 150 homes na­tion­wide to coincide with the coun­try’s sesquicentennial and are re­lated to the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Pro­ject.

AN­DREW PHILIPS/SPE­CIAL TO THE PACKET & TIMES

Walker In­dus­tries ag­gre­gate op­er­a­tions su­per­in­ten­dent Ryan Dosch, cen­tre, presents a $50,000 do­na­tion to Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tives David Aber­nethy, Tom Phillips, Britta Ger­win, Mar­garet Phillips and Shirley Har­ris. The funds will be used for the or­ga­ni­za­tion's on­go­ing Oril­lia build­ing pro­ject.

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