If you build it, they will come. Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster, which builds affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families, will hold the launch event for its second annual 100 Women for Habitat fundraiser on April 16.
This year, the organization has its sights set on purchasing new land for a larger future project in the city. “We’re hoping to look at a lot that we can get a multi-unit,” said Angela McKenzie, office administrator for Habitat for Humanity’s Lloydminster chapter.
Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster ran a 100 Women for Habitat event in 2013, in which they asked each participant to raise $1,000 in 100 days. This year, organizers elected not to set a monetary goal and are instead focused on engaging as many women as possible.
“We understand the downturn of the economy,” McKenzie said, “so we’re hoping to get 100 women, but that might not be possible. In 2013, we had over 80 women and they raised over $80,000, which went towards the building of Forester Place. So we’re hoping that that many will come out again and support us.”
The Forester Place project was the Lloydminster chapter’s largest to-date. It’s a seven-unit condominium that took a year to build.
With the uncertainty surrounding the future of Lloydminster’s economy, Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster executive director Vivian Pengelly says that affordable housing in the community has never been more vital.
“It’s in this downturn that many businesses tighten up their budgets, which includes cutting funding to local non-profits. The unfortunate element of that is that it’s also during this hardship when individuals begin to rely on non-profits like Habitat more,” she said.
“That’s why we’ve started up the 100 Women for Habitat event again this year. It’s needed now more than ever and we’re inviting the women of our community to please join us in raising funds to build affordable housing in Lloydminster.”
As part of the program’s requirements, recipients of the new housing must help with its construction.
“Partner families are chosen through an application process and they have to contribute 500 hours of sweat equity, which is equal to their down payment. Then they pay a no-interest mortgage,” said McKenzie.
Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteers and government grants to build homes from scratch. The organization tries to avoid hiring contractors as much as possible, as a way of keeping costs low.
“Sometimes there’s things you have to have contractors for - the electrical, plumbing and things like that. But a lot of times, then, they gift-in-kind that, so they volunteer their time and effort to that build. And that’s what keeps it affordable,” said McKenzie.
The event kicks off with an April 16 luncheon at the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre at 11:45 a.m, and will include networking and learning opportunities for participants. The fundraiser will run for six weeks, down from the three-plus months in 2013, and wrap up at the end of June.