Habitat For Humanity Home

A Habitat for Humanity home could be built on the North Island

A Habitat for Humanity home could be built on the North Island.Representatives from Vancouver Island North

Habitat for Humanity, Tom Beshr and Pat McKenna, appeared as a delegation at the District of Port Hardy

regular council meeting Jan. 12 to talk about the program.Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), is an

international, non-governmental, and non-profit organization, which was founded in 1976.”One of the common

misconceptions is that people think we give away free houses,” said McKenna.That is not the case.”We sell our

houses to our families.” Each house is built using volunteer labour, and each homeowner must complete 500

hours of ‘sweat equity’ in lieu of a cash down payment. “It’s quite a commitment,” McKenna said.The target

group is those that earn between $20,000 and $40,000 a year, he said. The mortgage is interest free, “which

really keeps the costs down.” The program is a hand-up, not a hand out, with a goal of breaking the cycle of

poverty. Studies have shown that it “really gives a hand up to the child as well,” McKenna said.In order to fund

expenses for the builds, Habitat for Humanity has two ReStore Donation Centres in Campbell River and

Courtenay.These centres receive new and used furniture and building materials donated by homeowners,

contractors, retailers and manufacturers, and sell them to the public at prices that are 30 to 75 per cent below

retail. The two locations bring in $1.3 million a year.Money raised through sales covers 100 per cent of the cost

of operations. Every dollar donated goes directly towards building homes.”We’re looking for champions for the

program (in the area),” said McKenna.”One of the most difficult things for us is finding families. It’s all about

collaboration,” he said.Mayor Hank Bood asked what “triggers you to action.””Need is the trigger,” McKenna

said, adding that while they sometime purchase land, a donation by the municipality would also push things

forward.”If we had land, I think we could make it happen,” McKenna said.Habitat for Humanity is a grassroots

movement.”It really comes from the community. Obviously a piece of land gifted to us would be wonderful.

That’s one piece of the puzzle. We need champions to drum support,” he said.