Habitat for Humanity West Kootenay is holding their annual general meeting on Monday, April 15 at 7 p.m. at the United Church in Castlegar and are inviting the public to learn more about the organization.
Current volunteers and donors have a chance to see where their hours and money have gone, and new volunteer opportunities exist for those wanting to help fundraise, participate in the next build or even take a position as a director on the board.
“We just completed our first build in Castlegar, getting a family into their home last fall,” said volunteer director Marc Allarie. “It’s just down behind Kootenay Market.”
The home in Castlegar was built on a lot donated by the City of Castlegar with help from over 80 donors and many others who donated time and energy.
“Basically, the entire house was built on volunteer labour,” said Allarie. “Selkirk College volunteered all of the hours for carpentry and electrical which was a huge help; as far as finishing touches, the entire community has been very supportive.”
Habitat for Humanity West Kootenay has previously built a total of three homes in the Nelson area, including one duplex.
The faith based, non-profit, and non-government organization has been in existence in Canada since 1985 and is working to provide affordable housing and home ownership to low-income earners.
“Habitat is all about community, making sure that those who need a hand up, rather than a hand out, get on their feet,” said Allarie. “Any family in need can apply and they don’t need a downpayment on the house. The downpayment is community service hours and they pay off the house at a zero percent mortgage to Habitat.”
Allarie said it is important for the community to realize they aren’t just giving a house to someone.
“They contribute and give back to the community,” he said. “They pay for the house in the long run and they really have a chance to build equity for the future.”
Funds collected through the mortgages then get used, along with donations, to help build more homes.
A March 21 press release from Jason Kuzminski, vice-president of government relations and advocacy for Habitat for Humanity Canada, said they are currently in the midst of a plan to build 1,800 more homes by 2016, the same number it originally took 25 years to achieve.
For more on Habitat for Humanity West Kootenay, and links to volunteer forms and donation information, visit www.habitatwk.ca.