50/50 Winner from our Annual Golf Tournament on September 9, 2020.

The lucky winner of our 50/50 draw was Andrew Gordey, who won a total of $5,955! The winning ticket was drawn on September 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm at 8210 Yellowhead Trail NW. Congratulations, Andrew!

Ticket #D-103124

Location Closing Sale — ReStore EAST

Habitat for Humanity Edmonton is sad to announce that the lease is ending at our ReStore location at 6909 76 Avenue NW, and that the location will be closing. The final day of business will be August 22, 2020.

With change comes the opportunity for BIG savings: this week we are excited to offer a minimum of 25% off the lowest ticket price on all remaining merchandise! (ReStore East ONLY – see block above for sale details).

Although we are no longer able to accept donations at this location, we continue to welcome your donations at all three of our other locations:

8210 Yellowhead Trail NW
16811 106 Avenue NW
4004 99 Street NW

We will be opening a new ReStore location in Sherwood Park later this year. We will keep you posted with information closer to the opening date.

Thank you for your continued support of the Habitat Edmonton ReStores, and especially to those of you who shopped, donated, and volunteered at ReStore East.

The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie and Habitat for Humanity celebrate the beginning of project in the City of Grande Prairie. Eight affordable homes are being constructed for families in the community.

August 6, 2020

GRANDE PRAIRIE, ALBERTA.  A Habitat for Humanity project is currently underway in Grande Prairie thanks to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie and other partners. Four duplexes are currently under construction by KCM Group of Companies, a local homebuilder and partner involved in the project. Partners and supporters joined to celebrate the win for affordable housing in the community at the construction site. Once the project is completed, eight families will own affordable homes; three of the eight families have already been selected by the Habitat committee.

“Habitat was delighted to celebrate alongside our many partners who have been working hard to build affordable homes for families,” said Chris Bruce, Chair of the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity Edmonton, the Habitat that oversees the program in Grande Prairie. “We could not be more proud of our partners for investing in their community through the Habitat program. These homes will serve many families in the coming years.”

The Government of Alberta has supported Habitat for Humanity builds across the province for over a decade and clearly understands the priority of affordable housing.

“Alberta’s government recognizes the demand for affordable housing is growing,” said the Honourable Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing. “We are pleased to be a partner on this project giving more families access to affordable housing.”

Under the leadership of Mayor Bill Given, the City of Grande Prairie has been a stalwart supporter of affordable housing.

“The City is extremely grateful to welcome back Habitat for Humanity to our community,” said Mayor Bill Given. “We have been long-time supporters of Habitat for Humanity and are excited to add another one of their builds to our area and see the positive impact it will have on so many lives. The partnership between Habitat for Humanity, the City of Grande Prairie, Government of Alberta, CMHC, the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie and our local contractor truly demonstrate the power of working collaboratively to support all residents in our community.”

Through a generous donation of $980,000, the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie has set a solid future in place for eight local families, and as these families succeed and sell their homes back to Habitat, even more families will benefit.

“The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie is honoured to support our community through this project with Habitat for Humanity,” said Tyla Savard, President, Rotary Club of Grande Prairie. “It is exciting to give such an opportunity for families in our community to create an ongoing legacy and to strengthen the community. We are very excited that this project is well underway and look forward to any opportunity that we can roll up our sleeves and pitch in to help out outside of the financial support we have provided. We thank our fellow community partners: the City of Grande Prairie, KCM Group of Companies, and Habitat for Humanity for their part in this project, as our collaboration strengthens our community.”

This special partnership includes a local builder who will build the homes, which will allow for families to be in their homes even sooner.

“KCM has been developing communities and building homes in Grande Prairie for over 30 years and we are honoured to be working with Habitat for Humanity on this much needed project here in Grande Prairie,” said Andrea Coleman, Accounting Manager at KCM Group of Companies. “Pride of homeownership goes hand-in-hand with the embracing sense of community, and we are happy to contribute to assisting local families along their journey of achieving strength, stability and self-reliance.”

Habitat for Humanity and the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie are excited to see the progress on the houses and to welcome the families to their new homes upon its completion.

 

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About Habitat for Humanity Edmonton

Habitat Edmonton works to eliminate barriers to a better, healthier, and more financially stable life. With our help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better future for themselves and their families. The Habitat program in Grande Prairie joined with Habitat Edmonton in 2011. For more information about Habitat for Humanity, please visit HFH.org.

About the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie

Grande Prairie is known as Rotary City. The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie was established nearly 70 years ago as the first of four local Rotary clubs. Rotary is a strong force in our community. Members of our four clubs – our Rotaract club (post secondary), multiple Interact clubs (high school) and one of two EarlyAct clubs (K – Grade 8) in North America – we engage members of all ages to be community stewards, develop their leadership skills, and create positive change in our world. Rotary is for everyone! Rotary in Grande Prairie has a long, rich history of community building and collaboration to fundraise and give back through such events and projects as the Dream Home Lottery, Stop Hunger Now, scholarships, grant applications, and donations towards projects like Habitat for Humanity. To learn more about Rotary in our community, visit www.gprotary.com

For more information, please contact

Chris Bruce, Board Chair
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton
chair@hfh.org

Tyla Savard, President
Rotary Club of Grande Prairie
780-897-4875
tyla@synergypromotions.ca

Update on Habitat Edmonton’s New Mortgage Model

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We work to build affordable housing for low income families, including those who have faced barriers to homeownership due to racial and social injustice.

For several months Habitat for Humanity Edmonton has been working through a legal dispute with some of the families we serve. We wanted to provide some information for the families, our community and supporters to let them know what’s taken place and how we have worked to try and come up with the best resolution possible for everyone involved.

Fortunately, many of the families involved have now made the decision to move to mortgage under this new model. We are pleased that these families are choosing to remain in the program of affordable homeownership and are confident that the advantages the new model offers will improve their lives in the long run.

The disagreement has related to how we structure the mortgages for the families that participate in our program. Over the years we have had several different ways of funding and administering our mortgages. The way we structure mortgages has periodically changed to meet the needs of the families we support, and the funding realities we are dealing with to ensure we can continue our important work, but we have always ensured that Habitat families pay no more than 30% of their household income for monthly housing costs.

Several months ago we updated our mortgage model again, so that 50% of loans received were at a 0% interest rate and 50% were funded at a lower than market rate supported by a local credit union.  While we used to offer mortgages fully at a 0% interest rate this was no longer sustainable and affordable for the organization and if we would have continued on we would have had to stop building any new homes in Edmonton, at a time when they are badly needed.  You can see more details about our new mortgage model here.

In looking back, we acknowledge that we could have been better at communicating that mortgage terms are only offered at the end of the tenancy period, and that they may be different from mortgages that others in the program have signed. Any perception that we might have created that we are not acting in what appears to be the families’ best interests is unfortunate, and regrettable. We have taken steps to ensure better communication to future families who apply for the program.

The solution we put forward was the best option available. There are some important points to note about it:

  • Families’ monthly payments remain the same. We made sure the new mortgages were no more of a financial strain on the families we serve than the previous mortgages.
  • There is still no downpayment required under the new mortgage model.
  • Families will continue to pay no more than 30% of household income for monthly housing costs (i.e. mortgage, taxes, insurance, and condo/program fees).
  • Because half of the mortgage is with a financial institution, families can build a credit history making it easier to qualify for a mortgage in the open market when they decide to sell their Habitat home.
  • If the value of the home increases families will enjoy increased value, up to a 3% shared appreciation, something they did not receive previously. This amount more than offsets the cost of interest if families stay in their homes for eight years or more.

Over the past two weeks most of the families involved in the litigation have met with us to discuss how they would like to move forward, either in purchasing the home or leaving the program with our financial support. In almost all cases we are continuing to offer them mortgages to buy the homes they have been renting and their monthly payments will not change if they choose to move to a mortgage. We very much would like to see them remain with our program and think it can benefit them greatly, but ultimately that is up to them and we continue to reach out to the families to discuss their options and the process of moving to mortgage.

To accommodate families whose religious affiliation prevents them from taking on a mortgage with interest, we have also worked to develop an exception mortgage to address this issue, which remains available for families to apply to upon request. This is a first of its kind initiative that we are glad to have been able to pilot and will assist other families in similar circumstances. The families will have to meet certain requirements, such as not having taken on other interest bearing loans, but provided they meet these requirements this will offer an option that addresses these individual concerns.

There are also a few families who unfortunately would not have qualified to continue with our program under the previous mortgage model or the current mortgage model because of a variety of personal circumstances. Even under our program, homeownership involves costs that not everyone can take on. For these families, we have worked with them to extend their tenancy whenever possible to help with remediating their credit or employment, or to transition to other alternative housing options if possible.

For those families who are choosing to exit the program, we are offering support to make the transition as seamless as possible. We’re confident that what we’ve put in place for the families involved is fair and equitable. Also, by making these critical changes, we will ensure the ongoing financial viability of Habitat Edmonton and the ability to continue delivering greatly needed affordable housing solutions in our community.

Home in South Edmonton.

Kadra is ecstatic about her new life at Neufeld Landing, a Habitat development in south Edmonton. She is married to Abdul, and they have two children: Tasleem, their 9-year old daughter, and Hamdi, their 5-year old son. She spoke about family walks, getting to know the neighbourhood, and having great family discussions over food grilled on the BBQ. At their apartment, barbecuing wasn’t possible, but now they can enjoy it all summer long. Also, both Tasleem and Hamdi are avid swimmers who feel at home in water.

Before Habitat, Kadra and Abdul found themselves in a similar situation to many families in Edmonton: trying unsuccessfully to save for a down payment due to high rent costs and other factors. Kadra and Abdul found themselves yearning for a better life without any means of making that life a reality. There was no foreseeable exit from the apartment they had been renting for eight years.

Abdul had a friend whose family was living in a Habitat house, and his friend encouraged them to apply. Kadra and Abdul were both working parents who really wanted to own THEIR OWN HOME. They had little hope that they would be accepted into the program, but they applied any way. Kadra recalled the day they received the call from Habitat Edmonton:

“You have no idea! I was so excited when they told me that they had a house for us! I asked Habitat, ‘are you sure we are accepted?’ We set up an appointment to meet and I didn’t sleep the whole week until we met with them. I called my husband and was screaming on the phone! We’re in! We got a home!”

Kadra was excited to start her 500 hours of volunteering, but some of it was postponed due to COVID-19; however, there was an opportunity to deliver flyers for Habitat, so her and her kids pounced on the opportunity.

“Home ownership is peace of mind,” said Kadra. “Not worrying about getting kicked out, no rent raises, or wasting my money… I can stay in this Habitat house as long as I want and I’m building equity.”

Kadra was speechless when she walked into her home for the first time. She said that words escaped her. She was overjoyed because it was her first home.

“My son was the most excited; he couldn’t run around in our apartment,” said Kadra. “When we moved in, the first thing he did was run around the entire house. He said, ‘Mom, are you going to stop me from running?’ I told him, no! Go!”

Kadra and Abdul thank the many people who made it possible for them to own a home.

She said, “My husband and I couldn’t even have imagined a house like this, but Habitat transformed our lives 100 percent.”

Around the world for Habitat

*Please note that due to COVID-19, all Global Village trips have been cancelled until the end of 2020. 

 

In 2015 two incredible people entered the Habitat for Humanity world: Kerry and Rudy Buchfink. They discovered the Habitat program in 2015 and have volunteered multiple times per year in countries across the world. Since 2015, they have been on a staggering 19 Global Village trips!

Where have they been?

Armenia, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Macedonia (x2), Nova Scotia, Nepal, Nicaragua (x2), Poland, Portugal (x3), Prince Edward Island, Trinidad, and the Yukon.

“I’m not sure what we’d be doing if we weren’t building homes with Habitat,” Rudy joked, “We already walk our daughter’s dog 2-3 times a week. If we weren’t building homes we’d probably double that number and take a small vacation once a year.”

Habitat changed their future of dog-walking into building homes for families in need. In 2015, the couple boarded a plane for their first Global Village build, which was in Portugal. The project was a renovation, and Rudy spoke fondly of their first time experience on a Habitat build site.

“When we arrived on site, we saw that [the renovation] was a big job,” said Rudy. “The homes needed everything from trenching to removing the old roofs. We mixed cement in a wheelbarrow and the work was HARD, but the hosts were well organized and so we were making huge progress throughout the day.”

Kerry noted that when they first arrive on site, they immediately notice a language barrier. However, everybody laughed so much while they tried to understand each other that it added a new element of delight to the experience.

“The groups are happy to have you there and they bend over backwards to help YOU in any way they can,” said Kerry.

It was difficult for Kerry to select one trip as a highlight, but she did remember building in Nepal as a neat experience. “Baby goats were born every day on our build site – yes, goats! We also had to take jeeps to the build site because some of the roads were washed out. I’ll remember that build.”

Rudy likewise had a special trip, and that was his trip to Indonesia, “Building the homes was a real community effort. Everyone – even the kids – pitched in to learn construction and to learn English. Habitat helps families get homes; worthwhile homes that they are proud of.”

The couple was surprised by how they were accepted so quickly by people who didn’t even know them – both in the community and on their build teams. It is fair to say that Global Village has changed the Buchfink’s lives as much or more than the impact they have had on the people in the countries they have visited.

 

*Although Global Village trips have been cancelled to the end of 2020 (and, unfortunately, the Buchfink’s September Global Village trip to Romania was cancelled), you can still read up on Global Village to see what is all involved. https://habitat.ca/en/volunteer/build-globally

 

 

Amanda and her family move into a Habitat home in St. Albert.