HfH Edmonton’s Blog: Family home for the holidays thanks to Tristate Signature Homes and Habitat for Humanity!

Leduc, AB – The holiday spirit was in the air as Karen and her two children (Gavin and Danielle) celebrated their new home ownership inside a beautiful home made possible by Tristate Signature Homes. This home ownership opportunity will allow Karen to build equity in her home and allow her children to be rooted in the community of Leduc without any fear of relocation. A promising future is in store and just in time for the Christmas season.

“Handing over keys during the Christmas season is very special to everyone at Habitat and to the family,” said Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “Even though the family is paying a mortgage, the home is still a gift in many ways. It’s the gift of healthy pride, stability, equity – but most importantly, it’s the gift of hope. This family now has a bright future ahead of them with many fond memories to be made.”

Habitat relies on partnerships with individuals, corporations and governments to effectively run their affordable home ownership program. The Government of Alberta continues to invest in the future of its citizens by investing in Habitat’s sustainable model.

“Our government is proud to support Habitat for Humanity’s affordable home ownership program as it continues to grow in the City of Leduc and communities all across Alberta,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes. “Habitat for Humanity and its partners deserve recognition for once again coming together to bring home ownership to another family during this special time of the year.”

Tristate Signature Homes joined the Habitat Day in the Capital Region family in 2012 when they announced that they would gift a home to Habitat for Humanity. The generosity of capital region home builders has resulted in pledged homes for 19 families. Tristate’s President Arash Vahdaty knows that this gift is important for families, but also for community and his industry.

“Owning a home is a milestone in many people’s lives which provides a sense of pride and fulfillment. Tristate Homes witnesses this every day, and we hope that everyone who works toward home ownership is able to experience it,” said Arash Vahdaty, President, Tristate Signature Homes. “With the donation of this home, we are emphasizing that even as a smaller builder we can support our community in a big way, and encourage the rest of the home building industry to use their skills and expertise to do the same.”

The Leduc Foundation has supported Habitat initiatives in Leduc over the years and they continue to support Habitat by investing in our program.

“It is with great pleasure that Leduc Foundation is participating in the dedication of this Habitat for Humanity home in the City of Leduc,” said Nancy Laing, Executive Director, Leduc Foundation. “To have a local family provided with the opportunity for home ownership is very exciting. It is all that more meaningful that our partnership with Habitat for Humanity Edmonton is coming to reality during the year of Leduc Foundation’s 50th Anniversary.”

Habitat is grateful to Tristate Signature Homes, the Government of Alberta and the Leduc Foundation for making this home possible for Karen, Gavin and Danielle.

HfH Edmonton’s Blog: Successful pilot project brings home ownership to a Métis Settlement – first time in Canadian history.

Elizabeth Métis Settlement, AB – Six families received keys to their new Habitat for Humanity homes on the Elizabeth Métis Settlement (EMS), marking the end of a successful pilot project by Habitat for Humanity Edmonton (HFHE) and EMS. In total, eight families have become homeowners – the first time in Canada that homeownership has become available on a Métis settlement. The success is due to the forward-thinking Aboriginal community and their willingness to proactively address local housing needs.

“Habitat is proud of our successful partnership launching the first ever Habitat homeownership program on a settlement with the Elizabeth Métis Settlement,” said Carolyn Graham, Chair, HFHE. “Elizabeth has embraced this first-of-its-kind pilot project and, as a result, eight families now enjoy home ownership on the Settlement. This successful project has the potential to transform how affordable housing is delivered to other settlements.”

The Government of Alberta has supported Habitat’s sustainable program for many years and has been a champion for affordable housing in our province. Habitat continues to work towards housing solutions for Aboriginal communities, and the success of this new pilot project demonstrates the transferability and sustainability of their home ownership model.

“Today is historic day and I congratulate the families and the community on this significant accomplishment,” said Minister of Aboriginal Relations Robin Campbell. “These homes reflect a commitment by Premier Redford to ensure safe, stronger families and communities. Through the Metis Settlements Long-Term Arrangements, we are partnering with Habitat to do similar projects in other Settlements as we continue with our building Alberta Plan.”

“Discussions between the Settlement and Habitat were ongoing for many years with both parties determined to make affordable homeownership a reality for Settlement members,” said Irene Zimmer, Chair, EMS Council. “Habitat and our Council signed the historic partnership in January of 2011, and when the opportunity to build four duplexes arose in the summer of 2012, both parties worked diligently to ensure the project’s success. With eight growing families – a total of 15 adults and 25 children – building equity, we cannot help but be excited.”

The homes at EMS are purchased at market value from HFHE. The families’ mortgage payments are interest-free and are 25 percent of their income, and every mortgage payment is equity in their home. Since Habitat homes are funded up front through financial donations, gifts of building materials and volunteer labour, Habitat is able to reinvest the mortgage payments back into affordable housing on EMS. This model enables Habitat to build more homes on EMS and, for members and the community, this is welcome news.

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HfH Edmonton’s Blog: Habitat, Lafarge, and Stantec win two Alberta Construction Magazine Awards!

Habitat for Humanity Edmonton, Lafarge and Stantec received two Alberta Construction Magazine awards for 2013 for the innovative NetZero Energy Precast Concrete homes built in Edmonton, Alberta.

The first award was Alberta Construction Magazine’s 2013 Top Project Award, Sustainability.

The second award was Alberta Construction Magazine’s 2013 Top Project Award, Project of the Year.

Habitat Edmonton is proud our partnership with Lafarge and Stantec and are honoured to receive rewards! We look forward to continuing to find innovative ways to provide affordable, sustainable housing to well-deserving families.

(To read the Alberta Construction Magazine article, please click here. )

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HfH Edmonton’s Blog: Homeownership becomes a reality for a well-deserving family thanks to Pacesetter Homes in partnership with Qualico

Homeownership becomes a reality for a well-deserving family thanks to Pacesetter Homes in partnership with Qualico.

Stony Plain, AB –It was an unforgettable day for Christian and Karina and their two children Christian (8) and Victoria (1). The family received a new Habitat for Humanity home as the result of a donation from Pacesetter Homes in partnership with Qualico. The home was pledged to Habitat during the Fourth Annual Habitat Day in the Capital Region this past April. Christian and Karina will now be able to raise their children in a stable environment.

“Pacesetter Homes, in partnership with Qualico, have demonstrated how important it is for families to have access to affordable homeownership,” said Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “The contribution they’re making is sustainable. It’s an investment that will serve a Stony Plain family many years down the road, and as this family makes mortgage payments, Habitat will use those funds to benefit even more Stony Plain families.”

The Government of Alberta has supported Habitat’s sustainable program for many years and has been a champion for affordable housing in our province.

“We rely on strong partnerships to support our affordable housing programs, and our government is pleased that Habitat for Humanity continues to gather more supporters through special events like Habitat Day in the Capital Region,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “Habitat for Humanity and its housing industry partners deserve recognition for coming together to strengthen the community of Stony Plain and bring home ownership to this family.”

As a participant in Habitat Day in the Capital Region, Zan Owsley, Vice President at Pacesetter Homes, was delighted to partner with Habitat to make a home available for Christian, Karina and their children.

“As a leading builder in the greater Edmonton area we feel it is our responsibility to contribute to affordable housing in our communities,” said Zan Owsley, VP at Pacesetter Homes. “Habitat is a wonderful organization for us to do that through because of their great housing program that helps families get into a home that otherwise would not be able to.”

Habitat for Humanity is grateful to Pacesetter Homes and Qualico for investing in the Habitat program. Their contribution will provide ongoing stability, equity and hope for a family. Since Habitat homes remain in the affordable housing pool, if a family decides to move on, the house is sold back to Habitat and another well-deserving family will be served. Pacesetter’s and Qualico’s contribution will serve families for years down the road.

HfH Edmonton’s Blog: Habitat for Humanity proudly opens new ReStore in West Edmonton!

Edmonton, AB – Habitat for Humanity held a Grand Opening to celebrate their third ReStore in Edmonton. The new store is located at 16811 – 106 Avenue and opens up more shopping opportunity for customers and more room for donated products. The expansion of ReStore helps Habitat for Humanity as they build more homes and serve more families. Proceeds from Restore cover Habitat for Humanity Edmonton’s fundraising administration costs so that dollars donated to the charity go directly to building homes and serving families.

“We are proud to open our third ReStore in Edmonton,” said Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “We’re so pleased to be able to provide more Edmontonians with an opportunity to find discounted building materials or that special piece of furniture for their home. And we’re pleased that this store will help us serve more and more families in our community.”

ReStore supports the administration costs of Habitat in Edmonton, and it also has a positive impact on the environment. In 2012 alone, the two ReStores in Edmonton diverted 1,200 tons of reusable materials from Edmonton and area landfills. With the addition of a third store, that number is expected to rise significantly in 2013 and beyond.

HfH Edmonton’s Blog: The largest rural Habitat build in Canadian history completes as 15 families receive keys to their new homes.

The largest rural Habitat build in Canadian history completes as 15 families receive keys to their new homes.

Edson, AB – Fifteen well-deserving Edson families received keys to the first ever Habitat for Humanity homes in the community. The project began three years ago when a local committee recognized the need for affordable home ownership in Edson. The Edson Habitat project is a testimony to what can happen when charitable organizations partner with governments, local businesses, faith and community groups and individuals work together for the betterment of a community. It is currently the largest rural Habitat build in Canadian history.

“Habitat Edmonton is thrilled that 15 families will now have a place to call home,” said Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “The local Habitat committee, the Town, the Province, and all supporters – volunteer and donors – need to be lauded for their outstanding commitment to strengthening the community through the Habitat program.”

The Government of Alberta has been a strong proponent of affordable housing across Alberta and supported the project in Edson.

“Our government is committed to affordable housing for families and was proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity on another historic project,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “Helping 15 families become homeowners is an invaluable investment in the community, and we commend Habitat for Humanity, volunteers, the Town of Edson and the private sector for their collaboration and hard work on this project.”

The land for the 15 homes was made possible by the Town of Edson.

“We would like to thank Habitat for Humanity and all of the volunteers for their dedication and hard work in making this dream become a reality for all of the families participating in the program,” said Mayor Greg Pasychny, Town of Edson. “This was a large undertaking, but everyone pulled together to bring the project to completion. The homes look great and we’re very excited to have the Canada’s largest rural Habitat for Humanity building project in our community. Congratulations from all Town of Edson Council and Staff!”

Countless hours were given by many local volunteers over many years, and The Friends of Habitat Edmonton – Edson committee members deserve recognition for a job well done.

Habitat families pay an interest-free mortgage that is never more than 25 percent of their income. This allows families more disposable income to spend on necessities and to save for the future. Each mortgage payment that Edson families pay goes to Habitat’s Fund for Humanity and will go towards future Habitat builds in Edson so that a greater number of families will benefit for years down the road.

First homes in Cold Lake for Habitat for Humanity!

Cold Lake, AB – Habitat for Humanity was pleased to present keys to Cold Lake families. With the increasing need for affordable housing in Cold Lake, the project was a timely endeavor. The development was a first-of-its-kind for Habitat Edmonton: an apartment complex with 32 units. The development was named Spirit Arms by the neighbouring Holy Cross school grade 1 students.

“Habitat is tremendously pleased that families will now be able to build equity in a home,” said Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “In a booming economy it is difficult to find housing, but the Province and City have been diligent to ensure that they are addressing the great need in the City.”

This development is a great example of how the government helps facilitate sustainable affordable housing projects. The Provincial government laid the groundwork so that Habitat for Humanity was able to collaborate with the community of Cold Lake and other partners to provide affordable home ownership opportunities to local residents.

“We rely on strong partnerships to support affordable housing programs, and our government is pleased that Habitat for Humanity and the City of Cold Lake are partnering on this project,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “Habitat for Humanity and the City of Cold Lake deserve recognition for coming together to strengthen the community and bring much-needed affordable housing to Cold Lake families.”

The City of Cold Lake has been a strong supporter of Habitat for Humanity bringing the affordable home ownership model into the city.

“It’s no secret that there is a shortage of affordable housing in Cold Lake and city council has looked at a variety of ways to address the issue,” Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland said. “This project comes at a crucial time and will give a lot of families hope in a very challenging housing market. We welcome Habitat for Humanity to our city, and these families to their new homes. I’m sure that this partnership will continue to grow and to benefit Cold Lake residents well into the future.”

Habitat families pay an interest-free mortgage that is never more than 25 percent of their income. This allows families more disposable income to spend on necessities and to save for the future. Each mortgage payment that Cold Lake families pay goes to Habitat’s Fund for Humanity and will go towards future Habitat builds in Cold Lake so that a greater number of families will benefit for years down the road.

HfH Edmonton’s Blog: Lafarge hands over keys to the first NetZero Energy precast concrete homes in North America

Lafarge hands over keys to the first NetZero energy precast concrete homes in North America.

Edmonton, AB – Lafarge has made homeownership possible for two hard-working Edmonton families through Habitat for Humanity. Partnering with Stantec to design the first NetZero energy precast concrete homes in North America, the team has targeted LEED® Platinum certification. Representatives from Lafarge and Stantec had the honour today of presenting keys to the recipient Habitat families. Building with precast concrete allows the homes to benefit from significant thermal mass. For the next two years the homes’ energy performance will be monitored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to determine if the high-efficiency design delivers on an operational basis. Learnings from all stages of the project will be incorporated in other sustainable residential solutions.

“These types of projects are so important if we are to find sustainable solutions to affordable home ownership,” said Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “The partnership between Habitat, Lafarge and Stantec demonstrates how community partners can work together for the benefit of humanity.”

“Lafarge is committed to building better cities and this project is an ideal example. Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Stantec has allowed us to do innovative research on the energy efficiency that concrete brings to buildings while helping two deserving families attain home ownership. From a sustainable construction and sustainable communities perspective, Lafarge could not be prouder of all this duplex has achieved,” commented Larry Diduck, Vice President- Edmonton.

“Working with Lafarge and this group of designers to find solutions that make sustainable precast concrete homes a reality has been an exciting challenge, and the result is a testament to the teamwork that has taken place over the last two years,” says Keith Shillington, Edmonton Capital Region Vice President at Stantec. “Habitat for Humanity is such a valuable partner in the community for Stantec, and designing homes for two of their families made this project even more meaningful for our team.”

Volunteers began construction on July 10, 2012 and a total of 3,050 hours were given by 159 different volunteers. As a charity, Habitat mobilizes volunteers and community partners to bring their affordable home ownership model to hard working families. The NetZero Energy project has been embraced by many in the community, the corporate sector, small business sector, by individuals and municipal and provincial governments.

“The NetZero project is another milestone for Habitat for Humanity that supports sustainability on so many levels,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “Habitat for Humanity and its partners deserve our recognition for being affordable housing leaders and ensuring our communities are built with the environment in mind, while supporting Albertans in need.”

The land for the state-of-the-art duplex was made possible by the City of Edmonton Cornerstones program.

“The City of Edmonton continues to benefit from the partnerships established through the Cornerstones Plan for Affordable Housing,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “Working with Habitat for Humanity, we’ve been able to help build attractive, affordable homes for families who need them, and energy-efficient design will keep them affordable for years to come.”

The homes are designed and constructed to be sustainable, which complements Habitat’s sustainable home ownership program. The two Habitat homeowners will pay an interest-free mortgage to Habitat and their payments will never be more than 25 percent of their income. The families’ mortgage payments are then reinvested into building more Habitat homes, ensuring an ongoing Habitat program. Families also contribute 500 hours of “sweat equity” on Habitat build sites as a down payment for their home.

Many others partnered with Habitat, Lafarge and Stantec to make this project a reality: Government of Alberta, City of Edmonton Cornerstones, Kassian Dyck Associates, Dow Chemical Canada, All Weather Windows, NCSG Crane & Heavy Haul Services, Landmark Solar Productions, Vital Engineering, Clark Ecoscience and Sustainability, RBBN Contractors and Painting Ltd., Cascade Aqua-Tech, Irving Wire Products Corporation, Canada Green Building Council – Alberta Chapter, Eco Ammo, Deck X, Siteline Inc, Whirlpool, Patching Associates Acoustical Engineering Ltd., Hunter Douglas, NIC, Schneider Electric, Eco Synergy, Threshold Energies, and Ecobee.

HfH Edmonton’s Blog: Dream of home ownership comes true for two well-deserving Whitecourt families.

Whitecourt, AB — Two local families received keys to their newly built Habitat for Humanity homes in Whitecourt. For the families, home ownership means stability. Each family will be rooted in their new neighbourhood and begin to build equity in their home through an interest-free mortgage (with payments that never exceed 25 percent of their household income). The duplex was constructed by the Friends of Habitat Edmonton – Whitecourt (FOHEW) committee and Whitecourt volunteers, and under the guidance of Habitat for Humanity Edmonton.

“The community of Whitecourt holds a special spot in our hearts since they are Habitat Edmonton’s first ever Friend community,” said Alfred Nikolai, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “We are constantly amazed by the generosity, dedication, spirit of neighbour-helping-neighbour of the communities we serve. Whitecourt has demonstrated over the course of the Habitat builds in 2009 and 2013, and I have no doubt that it will happen during the next build.”

Since 2005, the Government of Alberta has supported Habitat’s sustainable program and has been a champion for affordable housing in communities across our province.

“It is projects like this that help to build stronger communities through the generosity and goodwill of everyone involved,” said George VanderBurg, MLA for Whitecourt – Ste. Anne. “I am very proud of our community’s commitment to this important cause.”

Under the leadership of Mayor Trevor Thain, the Town of Whitecourt has been instrumental in helping Habitat acquire land for both Habitat builds.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is how active Whitecourt residents are when it comes to volunteering within the community. Habitat for Humanity projects are excellent examples of how residents and local businesses come together to make our community the best place to live, work and play,” said Whitecourt Mayor Trevor Thain. “Our community consists of young, hardworking families; many with young children. Habitat for Humanity is extremely supportive of this demographic, and as such our community’s partnership with this organization is ongoing.”

Habitat is grateful to the FOHEW committee for their dedication and passion for serving families. Habitat also recognizes the key roles that the Government of Alberta, Town of Whitecourt, Polar Ray-O-Max Windows, and Penn West Petroleum Inc. have played in making affordable home ownership a reality through the Habitat program. Habitat families certainly thrive in their new homes, and our program continues to grow as we serve an increasing number of families.