Habitat Building Bigger in Region

Traditionally, Prince Edward-Hastings Habitat for Humanity has built one-to-two homes a year to offer one family in need a hand up. Before the end of this year, the organization will have helped four local families to find new, long-term homes. This is a first. And it’s a trend that’s going to continue. “There’s a demand for our help in all communities – all over Prince Edward-Hastings counties,” said Bojanna Lough, community relations and fund development co-ordinator for Habitat for Humanity. To further illustrate just how large the demand is locally, the co-ordinator explained how a waiting list is currently being compiled. “This shouldn’t deter people though,” Lough stressed. “The family selection committee chooses families that are the right fit for the homes. It’s actually quite a big process to find the successful homeowners.”

While the organization, in a way, is dependent on land — which is either donated or offered at cost,rather than market value to build homes and help families — the goal, moving forward, is to help more families on a yearly basis, said Lough. Its initiatives such as the Women’s Build fundraiser this month, volunteers and “overwhelming community support” have helped make this year so successful, she added. “I think that it’s also in part because our message that we do not give a hand-out, but a hand-up, is getting out and that’s the reason for a lot of the community support we’ve seen in the last three months,” said Lough.

There’s been a real push within the organization for a heavier focus on fundraising because of the demand the area faces and the number of families in need of help, she continued. In a recent report to Hastings County council, executive director for the Prince Edward-Hastings Habitat for Humanity, Bob Clute, expressed his gratitude for the county’s support and shared vision of affordable housing for all. In his update, he reported the organization is in its “final throes of selecting a family for Trenton” and hopeful to have at least one family in a new home on Golfdale Road in Belleville, by Christmas.

The organization is currently in the midst of building and arranging for two families to get a smaller detached new home on Golfdale Road. “The second family will follow very early in 2016,” he wrote. Challenges ahead, the director wrote in his report, include establishing a Habitat chapter in Bancroft that can sustain itself over three-to-five years, for four homes to be built during that period. “We have the land,” he wrote. “We have established an initial infusion of seed capital in the amount of $50,000. We are left to find a Bancroft champion to put together a team.” The executive director also indicated, in the report, potential challenges acquiring land in the southern part of the county to allow for the organization to maintain the objective of four homes a year. “Our strategy of having concurrent build programs as opposed to consecutive builds has exhausted our current inventory.”

Further discussion of a Bancroft chapter would be “premature,” said Clute, as work is in progress and the matter is subject to approval. For those looking to lend those in need of a helping hand, a hand-up, the second instalment of the Women’s Build fundraiser, from Oct. 5-9, is still an option. “We could still use some help on a few of the days,” Lough said.