Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity look­ing for fam­i­lies

The Drumheller Mail - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Patrick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity has the land and the re­sources to build two new homes for Drumheller fam­i­lies, all it needs is a fam­ily to take on the project.

The Drumheller chap­ter of Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity has been suc­cess­fully fundrais­ing to build a du­plex in North Drumheller. The par­cel of land was do­nated by Al­bert Clark, and while they are about $20,000 away from their fundrais­ing goal, Louise Gagne, direc­tor of re­gional de­vel­op­ment for Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity, says that fundrais­ing is not their main ob­sta­cle.

“It isn’t about the money, it’s about fam­i­lies ap­ply­ing,” said Gagne. “We don’t have fam­i­lies ap­ply­ing and be­com­ing el­i­gi­ble.” Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity is a unique or­ga­ni­za­tion. Fam­i­lies that ap­ply and are ac­cepted are able to pur­chase the home through a no down pay­ment, in­ter­est-free mort­gage, geared to their in­comes, and a com­mit­ment of at least 500 vol­un­teer hours to con­struct their home.

“Our plan was to build this last spring. We were go­ing to break ground, build and have our fam­i­lies in by fall. In Fe­bru­ary we hosted an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion and we had about seven fam­i­lies there and we have about one that is el­i­gi­ble, but we are build­ing a du­plex so we need a sec­ond fam­ily,” she said.

She ex­plains there are three main cri­te­ria. The fam­ily must demon­strate a hous­ing need. This could be they are pay­ing more than 30 per cent of their in­come on house­hold over­head like rent and util­i­ties. Or they could be in an un­safe hous­ing sit­u­a­tion.

The next cri­te­ria to meet is the abil­ity to pay. At least one adult has to have a full-time job and be work­ing in the com­mu­nity for at least two years.

“We want to be able to house lo­cal fam­i­lies, and of­fer this af­ford­able home mort­gage to lo­cal fam­i­lies,” she said.

The fi­nal com­po­nent is the fam­ily hav­ing the time and a will­ing­ness to do the vol­un­teer hours.

“We are not sure what the chal­lenge is (get­ting fam­i­lies). Is there ac­tu­ally not a need or if the need has changed,” she said. “When we first ac­quired the land we un­der­stood there was a hous­ing need for work­ing fam­i­lies. Dur­ing the last two or three years, the eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment in Drumheller has changed,” she said. “The peo­ple we are invit­ing to ap­ply to our houses are peo­ple who are work­ing min­i­mum wage jobs… be­cause those are the peo­ple who gen­er­ally aren’t mak­ing enough to save for a down pay­ment or be able to pay for the in­ter­est of a mort­gage.”

“But they are great work­ing fam­i­lies and they are do­ing a good job of work­ing and rais­ing their fam­i­lies. Habi­tat is al- ways about giv­ing that fam­ily an op­por­tu­nity for the sus­tain­abil­ity of home­own­er­ship.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to habi­tat­south­ernab.ca./own-ahome

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity is look­ing for fam­i­lies for its Drumheller hous­ing project.

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