Habitat building in Flying Dust

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July 2, 2015 8:15 AM

Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster is well underway in its construction of a 10-unit elders' lodge in Meadow Lake, Sask. The new housing will relieve overcrowded, broken-down homes for Flying Dust First Nation families and Habitat plans to retrofit homes once elders move into the new complex. - Supplied

Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster is helping relieve the overcrowded, broken-down homes situation for the Flying Dust First Nation around Meadow Lake, Sask.

“On reserve, there is no housing continuum like you and I know it - you’re young and you get married and you have a smaller home, you have a family and then you move to a (larger) home when your family’s growing,” said Vivian Pengelly, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster. “They have elders that are living in three- and four-bedroom houses that they don’t want to look after, don’t have the energy to mow the lawn and just maintain a home.”

As a result, Habitat for Humanity is constructing a 10-unit elders’ lodge. The facility will be independent living units, much like condos. The lodge will be named “Kikinaw,” which means “Our Home” in Cree.

The project is expected to be complete by Nov. 15, although a recent progress report showed that it is running about two weeks behind schedule. Last week, volunteer builders were in Meadow Lake putting up walls.

Flying Dust First Nation and Habitat for Humanity Canada also hosted a special All Chiefs Build at the site on June 19. Chiefs from Saskatchewan First Nations and Meadow Lake Mayor Gary Vidal were in attendance to show solidarity and commemorate the “historic” partnership between Flying Dust and Habitat.

“We are very proud to partner with Habitat to fund sustainable and affordable housing solutions for our community,” said Flying Dust Chief Richard Gladue. “This project will enable us to provide suitable housing for our elders and assist young families in realizing their own dreams of homeownership.”

As the plan goes, homes currently occupied by elders will be retrofitted for other families in the community once they move into the new lodge.

Habitat Lloydminster broke ground on the project on May 1 and it is the first ever unreserved build in Canada. Habitat did not receive any government funding for the project, meaning the entire project, including the retrofits, will come from fundraising.

However, Pengelly says that Lloydminster residents worried about their donated money being used to fund a project outside of Lloydminster need not worry.

“Some people in Lloydminster might be concerned that any money we raise in Lloydminster comes up here, but it doesn’t,” she said. We are a partner of Flying Dust, we are the guiding force, we do all of the administration work and help them put together fundraising plans, volunteer committees, family selection committees, so that’s basically our role in that.”

Pengelly added that the organization’s work in Meadow Lake is no different from what happens during its Lloydminster builds.

So far, Pengelly says that Habitat Lloydminster has received significant donations from the Tachane Foundation, Enbridge, Devon Canada and All Weather Windows.

Meadow Lake is approximately 200 kilometres from the Border City, but the area falls within Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster’s region.

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