Lloyd Habitat For Humanity honoured

By Geoff Lee

June 16, 2016 12:00 AM

Wins national award for first ever build on a reserve

The phone at Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster, that builds homes with volunteers and community partners, has been ringing off the hook this week with words of congratulations.
The non-profit organization received a national volunteer award for Habitat for Humanity Canada’s first ever build on a reserve at Flying Dust First Nation, near Meadow Lake SK.
“I have never felt so humbled in my whole life,” said Lloydminster’s executive director of Habitat for Humanity, Vivian Pengelly, who accepted the award in Ottawa June 9.
The award is in recognition of the Elders’ Lodge project, a 10-unit complex called Kikinaw in Cree for"Our Home” to house some seniors of Flying Dust.
Pengelly’s joy is shared by Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation CEO, Ward Read who nominated the local organization for the award.
“We know of the work they’ve done in Lloyd and now beyond seeing that they were the first in Canada to undertake this program specifically for First Nations,” said Read.
Pengelly hit the road to Flying Dust Monday to talk with chief Richard Gladue on the next stage of the project and confirm the Key Dedication for the Elders’ Lodge on June 24.
“That will be a celebration of this project for everyone to come up and see the project, talk to the elders and find out what it means,” said Pengelly.
“The first part of the project is the health and wellness of the elders who are very much a part of families in the indigenous meaning of populations of families.”
The second phase of the project to be announced in greater detail at the dedication calls for the retrofitting of some existing houses on the reserve.
The plan is to put young families into the habitat model of homeownership paying a mortgage.
“The first two of those retrofits will be starting at the same time we turn over the keys to the elders,” said Pengelly.
“So this project will probably be another year—perhaps two years—before we complete it.”
Building homes on reserves is a new direction for the national housing organization that signed a memorandum of agreement with the Assembly of First Nations in December 2011 to prioritize housing on First Nation communities.
“This housing continuum program—we hope will make housing and homeownership a sustainable program on reserves across the country,” said Pengelly.
Pengelly added Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster has held build discussions with Onion Lake too.
“We hope to move forward in the near future, but we have not yet signed a memorandum of understanding with them,” she said.
“But we are talking with many first nations across the country who hope to emulate this plan.”
The impact of the Elder Lodge is a critical stepping stone to improved housing for Aboriginal families and their communities across the country.
Habitat for Humanity Canada created the Aboriginal Housing Program in 2007 to assist in providing housing solutions for Aboriginal communities with the Lloydminster branch first off the mark.                                                                                           
“They’ve paved the way for other Habitats in Canada to follow suit, this is stepping out to be a national leader,” said Read.
“You know when you are supporting them, you are supporting a group that’s doing a good job and working toward their mandate.”
Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster and Flying Dust teamed up to create “A Partnership for Better Living – A Vision for More” to get the Elders’ Lodge off the ground.
“They are a very straightforward visionary First Nations and they had a community plan where they know that they wanted to make homeownership part of their plan,” said Pengelly.
She said to keep housing on the reserve they knew they had to move to a mortgaged homeownership model.
“After the signing of the agreement with the Assembly of First Nations, they just approached us and that was the start of the project,” added Pengelly,
The project nomination was supported by the communities of Lloydminster, Meadow Lake with letters of support from chief Gladue and Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders.Additional support came from Enbridge Inc.
As a regional award recipient, the Lloydminster housing chapter is eligible for a $5,000 grant that Pengelly said will help fund new builds for families and communities.
There were 365 nominations across Canada for 15 regional awards including the social innovator category in the prairie region to Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster.
“To think that our small city and the work that they’re doing is recognized like that is truly amazing and humbling,” said Pengelly.

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