Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Habitat Edmonton’s desire to protect our staff and membership, the AGM that was scheduled for April 28, 2020 has been postponed until further notice. Thank you for your understanding.
At Habitat Edmonton the well-being and safety of our families is our utmost priority. Given the outbreak of COVID-19 in Alberta, we are doing all we can to support all the families in our program as we navigate through this crisis.
To provide certainty and peace of mind to those involved in the ongoing litigation, we will be extending their tenancy agreements for at least three months and will continue to offer mediation services in hopes of reaching an amicable resolution to retain all families within our program. Should additional extensions be required they will be considered as needed as the situation evolves, but we would not do anything that jeopardizes the health and safety of those we serve during this public health crisis.
These changes will also give more time for the families to consider their options and to avoid disruption during this public health crisis. We would like to stress that we continue to offer mediation to our partner families and continue to respond, as always, in good faith to achieve an amicable resolution to this matter, either a negotiated resolution or an answer to the legal questions that the plaintiffs have sought.
We are closely following the announcements made by the Alberta Government and public health authorities regarding COVID-19 and our response with respect to this issue will be guided by their recommendations.
We remain hopeful and optimistic that these families will come to realize the significant benefits of the new mortgage model that we are offering them and that they will return to the program of affordable home ownership. Our ultimate goal is to continue to serve Albertans by providing housing to families in need and our new mortgage model is critically needed to allow us to continue to do that.
(last updated: March 27, 2020. 1:05 pm)
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton is standing strong with our community during the COVID-19 crisis. We care deeply about the safety of our volunteers, donors, partners, staff, partner families and our ReStore customers, and have reached the following decisions that are effective as of Thursday, March 19, 2020:
- All Habitat build sites, ReStores, and offices will be closed to volunteers until further notice.
- All workshops and events are cancelled until further notice.
- All four Edmonton ReStores and our Grande Prairie ReStore are closed to the general public until MAY 1, 2020. We will have a process for customers to purchase products by phone for pick up in a safe manner from specific ReStore locations. Read more about the process.
All staff who remain on site will exercise diligence in the following ways:
- Social distancing: keeping 2 meter distance from others.
- Frequent hand-washing and/or use of an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth (especially with unwashed hands).
- Covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Immediately disposing of any used tissues and immediately washing hands afterwards.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces (such as doorknobs and electronic devices).
- Staying home if sick at all (COVID-19 symptoms or other).
- Avoiding public transportation or ride shares.
- Staying home if they have been in contact with people who have traveled internationally within 14 days of their return.
Global Village Trips.
Habitat Canada has announced that they are suspending all international and domestic Global Village builds for the remainder of May through to the end of June.
President & CEO
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton
(780) 479-3566 | email@example.com
Chief Strategic Engagement & Programs Officer
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton
(780) 451-3416 | firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a great time celebrating the kick off of the 2020 Interfaith Works Project! We are aiming to connect 50 faith communities to the important work that Habitat is doing in the capital region. Below are a few photos from the event.
A Coronavirus Update from Habitat for Humanity Canada – affects Global Village Trips (Mar 2 – May 9 and possibly later)
Date: February 27, 2020
Based on the latest information from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Habitat for Humanity International is suspending all Global Village volunteer builds scheduled to begin March 2 through at least May 9. We will continue to monitor the situation and Habitat International may extend cancellations after May 9.
This decision came to us from Habitat International, who have been closely monitoring the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the precautions governments, health organizations, businesses and other international non-governmental organizations continue to take to limit its spread and impact in a growing number of countries.
Our priority is always the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, partners and the people we serve. Habitat is taking a proactive approach to minimize potential exposure to the virus. In this matter, our overriding concern is for our volunteers and the people in the communities in which we serve. Many of our Global Village builds take place in communities that may not be prepared to address an outbreak of the virus. We must take caution to not potentially expose these vulnerable communities to the virus through accidental transmission from our volunteer or staff teams.
The rapidly developing nature of the outbreak, coupled with the complexity of our Global Village program, compelled Habitat International to make this a global action. While some of the countries affected by this decision have few or no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, it is the volunteer and staff travel from and through multiple cities around the world that increases the risk of transmission. The wide and growing geographic spread of the outbreak makes it impossible to predict which countries may be affected next. Proactive cancellations allow us to minimize risk by staying ahead of the outbreak.
We understand that changes to Global Village builds can be disappointing, and know some may disagree with Habitat International’s decision. We respect those views. However, Habitat for Humanity’s concern for the safety and security for all those working and volunteering for Habitat—including volunteers, local staff and beneficiaries—call for an abundance of caution.
Volunteers scheduled on Global Village builds slated to begin between now and May 9 should review the following and take action as appropriate:
- Volunteers should contact their airlines to cancel their travel arrangements as soon as possible. Many airlines are offering travel changes and cancellation waivers given the coronavirus outbreak. We have sent you a letter of support to the airline noting the cause of the cancellation.
- Should volunteers choose to continue with their travel, it will not be covered by any Habitat Insurance or partner arrangements.
- Global Village volunteers are encouraged to consider the financial burden these cancellations create for not only yourselves, but also for Habitat in the host countries. Volunteers have the option of:
a) receiving a refund of their Global Village build donation;
b) applying it toward a future Habitat Canada Global Village build within two years of the departure date of the original build (check back on www.habitat.ca/globalvillage for builds later in the year);
c) designating the donation to be used as originally intended, benefiting Habitat’s work in the host country.
Our Global Village registration department will contact you and provide you with the appropriate modification form.
- For builds beyond May 9, we will continue to monitor and extend cancellations if required.
- Due to the potential for further cancellations we recommend not booking your flights until you receive confirmation from Habitat Canada.
- If a volunteer has a question or needs assistance, they can contact Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Global Village customer service at email@example.com. We ask for your patience as we work through these cancellations.
Habitat International made this decision in consultation with colleagues in all regions of our global programs, evaluating all potential impacts as well as the risks of inaction. This decision protects the short-term health and safety of our people as well as the long-term reputation of our organization as one that prioritizes safety and care for the people we serve.
The World Health Organization is providing regular updates to its guidance about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Visit the WHO’s coronavirus webpage for guidance on hygiene and prevention or visit Health Canada’s website.
We look forward to resuming our Global Village builds as soon as we are safely able. Thank you for your continued dedication to Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Rob Voisin SVP, Operations
Habitat for Humanity Canada 477 Mount Pleasant Road Suite 403, Toronto, ON, M4S 2L9
(800)667-5137 • habitat.ca
What’s on your bucket list? An international Habitat for Humanity trip with my adult son was on mine. I am a recently retired professional accountant, and in December of 2019, my son and I went on our first Global Village build. The trip was something I wanted to do, and taking the opportunity to travel with my son made it even more awesome. After connecting with experienced Habitat volunteers in our hometown and hearing about their past trips, we chose to go to El Salvador as part of a Christmas “blitz build”. (A blitz build occurs when volunteer teams congregate at the same location to build multiple houses at the same time).
My son and I had never traveled to Central America, and so we were looking forward to both the build and the cultural experience. In preparation for our trip we had many of our questions answered by our team leader and by an information package that Habitat provides to Global Village participants. Prior to the trip we ensured our vaccinations were up-to-date, learned a bit of Spanish, and broke a sweat at the gym to prepare for the full work days to come at the build site. We also bought work clothes and gifts to donate to the families in El Salvador.
Upon arrival, we were met by local Habitat staff and then bused to our accommodations near the build site at a friendly, locally-owned hotel. The room was basic, but clean and comfortable. The hotel offered well prepared local cuisine for breakfast and supper each day. A big highlight of the trip was meeting the deserving families who would receive the homes. Habitat staff hosted ceremonies both at the start and end of the week with the families in attendance.
When we arrived at the build site there were volunteer teams already working on several new houses in the same neighborhood. Our team of 10 included members from all across Canada, and there was a team with members just from our hometown area, and a team with volunteers from across the United States. There were also Salvadoran volunteers from local high schools, the university, and businesses that joined us on site for a day. This international volunteer group created a diverse and inclusive atmosphere that made for engaging conversations. These discussions often occurred during work breaks and lunches. The meals were catered by local residents consisted of authentic Salvadoran food, including: empanadas, chicken, fish, rice, beans, plantains, and bottled soda.
Our build site was located outside a rural town, near Santa Anna, where six 400 square foot concrete block homes were being built for local families. Our team worked primarily on one home under the direction of the local mason and his two assistants. Habitat staff were always on site to help translate his instructions. The construction was steady from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm and included digging dirt, sifting sand, mixing concrete, tying rebar, and moving a LOT of concrete blocks in a human chain. All the work was done with hand tools only. We definitely needed frequent shade and hydration breaks due to the bright sun and 35°C temperature. Although the homes were not completed by the time we had to leave, over the week we did watch the walls of the house rise from a dirt site to a completed foundation.
In addition to the build site experience, we were able to take in the local culture as tourists. Before the build, Habitat staff gave us a guided tour from the capital city of San Salvador to the Cathedral where Saint Oscar Romero is buried. After the build, our team spent a couple days at a seaside resort near the airport. The socially-responsible hotel hired nearby locals only, and trained them in tourism and hospitality services. The resort supported a sea turtle sanctuary and a 10-acre adjacent forest reserve. My son and I stayed a few extra days, and so we hired a local guide to give us a personal tour through the countryside. We even climbed for two hours to the top of an active volcano!
This Global Village experience gave us a greater appreciation of the good work that Habitat does in El Salvador to provide safe and affordable homes for qualified families. Every day we felt energized by the positivity of the committed volunteers on the build site, and we learned so much from our interactions with the local Salvadorans whom we met. We learned that although El Salvador is a developing country, it is also a safe place where people are joyful, gracious, and appreciative. We look forward to joining another Global Village build in the future.
~ Greg Bounds
The current mortgage model was set in place to ensure improved benefits for families, and to ensure that Habitat can continue to serve families sustainably and effectively. The following points demonstrate how the current mortgage model works:
- Families who partner with Habitat Edmonton continue to pay no more than 30% of their household income on their housing costs – as they have always done. Between 23% – 27% of their monthly payment goes directly towards their mortgage and the remainder covers:
- Condo/Program Fees
- There is no down payment required to purchase a Habitat home. To demonstrate their willingness to partner with Habitat, future homeowners agree to volunteering 500 hours on build sites, in ReStores, Habitat offices, Habitat events, or affiliated charities.
- The current mortgage model provides families with access to capped market appreciation on the equity in their home. This benefit was not available in previous mortgage models and potentially allows families to exit the Habitat program with more equity than they would have under previous mortgage models.
- Habitat offers a portion of the mortgage at 0% interest to ensure affordability.
- Habitat brings a banking partner to the families and through this relationship the families will acquire a credit history. Previously, this was not a benefit that Habitat could provide. Families then pay a below market interest rate on this portion of their mortgage.
- Habitat has always worked with families who are working through financial hardships. We ensure that they can continue in the program, and will continue to do so by adjusting their payments.