Build­ing hu­man­ity

Hol­land Col­lege part­ners with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity to build home in Sum­mer­side

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY COLIN MA­CLEAN

It was Mon­day af­ter­noon and Ni­co­las Gra­ham was busy in­stalling wiring in the shell of a small home sit­ting be­hind the Hol­land Col­lege Wa­ter­front Cam­pus in Sum­mer­side.

As Gra­ham worked, a crew of about a dozen fel­low stu­dents went about their busi­ness in the back­ground, run­ning wire, in­stalling pan­elling and gen­er­ally get­ting the proto-home ready elec­tri­cally.

Gra­ham, 18, of Char­lot­te­town is a first-year stu­dent in the col­lege’s elec­tri­cal tech­nol­ogy pro­gram and is work­ing to build one of three small homes that the var­i­ous in­dus­trial tech­nol­ogy pro­grams fin­ish ev­ery year as part of their learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Nor­mally the struc­tures are sold off at the end of the school year, but this house is spe­cial.

This is a Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity home.

Gra­ham and his class­mates have been work­ing on the house for months and ex­pect to have it ready for a Sum­mer­side fam­ily by spring.

“It’s a cool thing, I re­ally en­joy that we’re do­ing it and that Hol­land Col­lege is part of this,’ said Gra­ham.

Hol­land Col­lege and Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity started talk­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of work­ing to­gether about a year ago.

The two had worked to­gether to build a cou­ple of homes in Char­lot­te­town, but that was more than a decade ago.

How­ever, some lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges arose and there has been no for­mal part­ner­ship since.

That changed af­ter Kent Sheen, pro­gram man­ager of in­dus­trial tech­nol­ogy and trades with Hol­land Col­lege, reached out to the Habi­tat or­ga­ni­za­tion again last year.

“We’ve done projects in the past ... for all kinds of dif­fer­ent char­i­ties. This seemed like ... a good part­ner­ship,” said Sheen.

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity is pro­vid­ing most of the ma­te­ri­als for the home, while the Hol­land Col­lege stu­dents pro­vide the labour and, at the same time, hone their skills.

It’s good ex­pe­ri­ence for the stu­dents and a ben­e­fit for the com­mu­nity, said Sheen.

“There’s a lot of value in them know­ing that this is a pro­ject that is go­ing to go to a needy fam­ily and that it’s go­ing to get lived in. I think it re­ally makes (the pro­ject) that much more real,” he said.

Becky Mullen, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity P.E.I., added the part­ner­ship saves vol­un­teer time and re­sources for when they’re needed most — the sum­mer con­struc­tion sea­son.

Mullen is en­cour­ag­ing any fam­ily who thinks they might qual­ify for a Habi­tat home to ap­ply.

“We know there is go­ing to be a house there, it’s al­ready in the works, and there’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be a fam­ily from Sum­mer­side who is go­ing to be ap­proved. It might as well be you,” said Mullen.

The fam­ily who even­tu­ally takes pos­ses­sion of the home will still have to put in their manda­tory “sweat equity,” which is work they have to do them­selves as part of the Habi­tat pro­gram.

They might do this by help­ing with the fin­ish­ing touches, such as paint­ing, or they could work on an­other Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity pro­ject.

Once the home is com­plete, it will be moved to a cul-de-sac owned by the or­ga­ni­za­tion off Tan­ton Drive in the city.

The last Sum­mer­side Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity home was built there two years ago.

COLIN MA­CLEAN/TC ME­DIA

Hol­land Col­lege stu­dent Mor­gan Fay in­stalls a light fix­ture in a fu­ture Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity home be­ing con­structed at the school’s Sum­mer­side Wa­ter­front Cam­pus.

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