Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

Dan and Melanie Coughlin are one wall closer to owning their own home. The Bayside couple smiled as they helped lift the wall into place. The Coughlins and their three daughters — Jacqueline, Meghan and Gwen — will move into their new home in April 2015.

The family are the newest partners with Prince Edward-Hastings Habitat for Humanity. The organization held an official wall-raising ceremony Wednesday at the duplex currently under construction on Sidney Street. The Coughlins decided in February to begin the application and screening process after reading about Habitat for Humanity on Facebook. The family found out in October they would be the new owners. Applicants for the other half of the duplex have yet to be selected. “We knew this was always a great program. It’s really exciting, but at the same time it doesn’t feel real yet,” said Melanie Coughlan. “It’s hard to believe this is actually happening.”

A big crowd was on hand for the ceremony, including a dozen trades and technology students from Loyalist College who are helping to frame the house. Habitat for Humanity board chairman Bob Clute said the idea behind the organization’s philosophy is offering a hand up, not a hand out. “Our feelings are based on hope for the family and children,” said Clute. “The three things I like best about this is going to a family and telling they are getting a new home, raising the walls and then turning over the keys.” This is the fourth lot – three in Trenton and one in Frankford — Quinte West has donated to Habitat for Humanity.

The city also donated permits and servicing fees. Mayor-elect Jim Harrison said it won’t be the last time the city helps the organization. “This is a fantastic project and we will continue to support Habitat for Humanity. We also appreciated all the work the volunteers for the project and the community.”

Executive director Len Kennedy said building two homes at once provides affordable home ownership for two families. But he said “now more than ever” Habitat for Humanity needs help from the community. “We use volunteer labour, donated materials and fundraising to complete build projects and since we’re building two homes at once, twice the amount of support will be required from the community,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said volunteers from a number of groups and organizations are taking part in the latest build including high schools, CFB Trenton, Loyalist College, service clubs and community volunteers. “We’re always looking for volunteers to help out,” said Kennedy. For more information on volunteering, or applying to become a Habitat home owner call 613-969-1415, or visit www.habitatpeh.org.

By Ernst Kuglin, The Intelligencer/Trentonian, Wednesday, November 12, 2014 ernst.kuglin@sunmedia.ca