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2013 Fall/wiNter

News and Views for the Friends of Habitat for Humanity Canada

A world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.

A Message from the President & CEO

Building Momentum Ask anyone at Habitat what drives us. Our answer will invariably involve pushing ourselves to serve a greater number of families than ever before.

Will you help us reach our goal to serve 1,800 more families by 2016? Then check out our GiftBuilder Catalogue or visit to learn more about opportunities to give.


The habiTaT spiriT Fall/Winter 2013

I feel there is no nobler pursuit than ensuring that everyone has access to a safe and decent home. At Habitat, we reduce the barriers to homeownership for hardworking low-income families, allowing them to save for the future, break the cycle of poverty and improve their lives in many ways. I’ve joined Habitat for Humanity Canada at a fascinating time in the organization’s history. Last year was the first of a new, aggressive strategic plan, targeting the equivalent number of homes built and families served by 2016 as Habitat cumulatively achieved in its first quarter-century in Canada. In year one of the plan, we made headway on several fronts. Recognizing that they could increase their impact by working together, four Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Alberta amalgamated as Habitat for Humanity

Southern Alberta. Since then, we’ve witnessed even more of the same, with 17 other Habitat affiliates nationwide in talks to amalgamate or collaborate in order to build more homes and better serve their communities. Over the next year, and the next three years of our strategic plan, I look forward to working with more volunteers, partnering with more donors, and collaborating with more organizations as we work to build sustainable homeownership solutions for an even stronger Canada.

Kevin Marshman President & CEO Habitat for Humanity Canada

contents 04 The Results Are In

Just how Habitat improves family life

06 Building Coast to Coast

a look into some of the hundreds of Habitat homes on the go this year


Recovering from the Flood what we’re doing to help those affected

14 Great Ways to Support Habitat 15 Little Builder a colouring page for your future Habitat volunteer

cover : Mom, Cory, with kids, Jesse and Cassidy,

in the kitchen of their airdrie, alberta Habitat home. read Cory's story on page 4.

The Habitat Spirit, a publication of Habitat for Humanity Canada, seeks to promote communication, discussion and networking among Habitat for Humanity affiliates, volunteers and supporters.

QuesTions or commenTs should be senT To: habiTaT For humaniTY canada

477 Mount Pleasant Road, Suite 105, Toronto ON M4S 2L9 1.800.667.5137 Fax: 416.646.0574

phoTo crediTs:

special ThanKs To:

The photos contained in this newsletter were provided courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Canada, its affiliates and HFHI unless attributed otherwise.

Soapbox Design Communications Inc. Cossette Inc. Erin O’Hara

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


How Does Habitat Improve Family Life? Last year CMHC and Habitat undertook a joint study to assess the impact of Habitat homes on homebuying families. The results are in from over 300 families from all corners of Canada and we now have an even clearer picture of how Habitat improves lives and strengthens entire communities. To learn more about how Habitat helps families, or for the full CMHC family impact report, please visit

Finding the Confidence to Thrive

“It’s been good for my kids to see me succeed and be happy.”

trying to provide for her two children, Cory Mennear shouldered the constant worry that her rent would increase. Already stretched to her financial limit, even a small increase would force her to uproot her family. Moving into a Habitat home in 2012 provided a sense of security that the family had never known. No longer saddled with ever-present fear and anxiety, Cory felt a relief that led to the rediscovery of her self-confidence. In the past, the day-to-day battle to survive and provide had been all consuming. Armed with a newfound sense of optimism about the future, Cory pursued new career opportunities, landing a job that promised to offer a more prosperous life for her children, Cassidy and Jesse. Cory says it was the stability of her Habitat home that changed her outlook on life and reinvigorated her career ambitions. “I have Habitat to thank. It’s changed my whole life. Not only has it given me and my kids a home, our home, but the confidence to go for it and not be shy.” Homeownership and the stability it’s brought to the Mennears has created a healthier, stress-free environment for Cassidy and Jesse. “I think it’s been good for my kids to see me succeed and be happy. They know they’re taken care of and can now focus on being kids,” says Cory.

A single mother


The habiTaT spiriT Fall/Winter 2013

A Home Filled With Love

“When we are all together everything feels complete.” faith was tested when dad, Stephen, was told he would need a heart transplant. While Stephen would emerge from a successful surgery, the conditions in which he would have to recuperate were less than ideal. The family relied on public housing, living in a house with mould, little insulation and poor electrical wiring. And the family’s future prospects were bleak. The financial expenditures that came with Stephen’s surgery and recovery made it difficult to pay the bills, let alone improve their situation.

the Zelinski fAmily’s

Determined not to become a victim of her circumstances, mom, Katrina, committed to improving her family’s situation. In 2004, she turned to Habitat for Humanity in her community of Sault Ste. Marie. She dedicated hundreds of hours of sweat equity towards the construction of her family’s new home while caring for her three young children and helping her husband through his recuperation. Now, eight years later, the family is thriving. Dad is enjoying his second chance at life and has re-entered the workforce. The eldest daughter, Brittany, has gone on to post-secondary education. And Katrina hasn’t forgotten those who helped her along the way, volunteering two days a week at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, paying tribute to the organization she says gave her family its first real home. “I’ve lived in a few houses in my life but I have never really considered them a ‘home’ until now,” she says. “This home is filled with love and happiness, and when we are all together, everything feels complete.”

CMHC is a Platinum partner of Habitat for Humanity Canada. In addition to this research, CMHC provides advice, financial assistance, and volunteer support so that more families can access affordable Habitat homeownership.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Coast to Coast TransForming communiTies,

Takhini River, YK Ku˛ųKàtthe Ä’A˛ ‘First House’

undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Yukon and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Families served once complete: 3 energy efficiency rating: Yukon SuperGreen certification Safe, decent and affordable homes are desperately needed on many of Canada’s Aboriginal settlements and reserves. Although over 50 homes have been built under our Aboriginal Housing Program, this is the first project to be undertaken on First Nations settlement land.

Victoria, BC

4K Cedar Hill Cross Road undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Victoria Families served once complete: 4 energy efficiency rating: Built Green Canada With a number of indigenous plants and trees and a municipality-owned house currently at the location, Habitat for Humanity Victoria will recycle and reuse all materials possible as well as replant trees and plants needing removal when preparing the land for construction.

Edmonton, AB

Regina, SK

Winnipeg, MB

undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Edmonton Families served once complete: 64 energy efficiency rating: Built Green Canada, LEED Canada for Homes

undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Regina Families served once complete: 2 energy efficiency rating: Built Green Canada

undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Manitoba Families served once complete: 20 energy efficiency rating: Power Smart Gold Standard

Neufeld Landing

In Habitat’s 28-year history in Canada, this is the largest project ever to be undertaken. The development has been named in recognition of Don Neufeld, a local volunteer who has contributed over 15,000 hours to the work of Habitat in his community.


The habiTaT spiriT Fall/Winter 2013

Wascana Street

The homes being built at 615 and 617 Wascana Street will be raised by Canadian icons. Since being discontinued, Habitat Regina put out the call to have 10 million pennies donated to construct one of the homes. Canada's own RCMP will build the other through a partnership between Habitat and the RCMP's training grounds, Depot Division.

Fernbank and Main

At Habitat for Humanity Manitoba’s 2013 Blitz Build, eight homes rose in just six days thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who dedicated themselves to early mornings and lending a hand to quickly bring even more local families closer to Habitat homeownership.

Habitat is busy building, and building green, in the communities where you live and work. When families are given the opportunity to remove themselves from unsafe and unhealthy living conditions, they can focus on breaking the cycle of poverty and transforming their lives.

With hundreds of homes already completed or nearing completion, this year we’re expecting to strengthen more communities than ever before, one family at a time. Here’s a few examples of what we have in the works coast to coast.

Iqaluit, NU

2013 Midnight Sun Build undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Iqaluit Families served once complete: 1 energy efficiency rating: R2000 Canadians traveled from all reaches of the country through Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Global Village program to ensure this home’s completion during the region’s short build season. In addition to swinging hammers and raising walls, volunteers were exposed to local Inuit culture and life in the North, including Iqaluit’s midnight sun.

St. Anthony, NL St. Anthony Project

undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland & Labrador Families served once complete: 4 Situated on the northern tip of Newfoundland, a 12 hour drive from St. John’s, this project will see four existing homes obtained through the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative renovated by Habitat for St. Anthony families in need. These homes are being completed as part of an ambitious plan to construct 50 more Habitat homes in Newfoundland & Labrador over the next five years.

Oshawa, ON

Montreal, QC

undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Durham

undertaken by: Habitat for Humanity Province of Quebec Families served once complete: 8 energy efficiency rating: LEED Canada for Homes

Centre Towne

Families served once complete: 24 energy efficiency rating: Built Green Canada Built over four years, these 24 homes will contribute to the ongoing positive transformation of the downtown Oshawa core.

Village Turcot Revitalization

Four duplexes will be built in Village Turcot to better the lives of eight low-income Montreal families. To kick-off the project and the impact it will have on the community, 300 Habitat for Humanity volunteers took to the streets for a full day, creating positive change by assisting current Village Turcot residents with minor repairs, tackling graffiti and cleaning green spaces.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Flood recoVering From The

In mid-June, 120,000 Albertans were forced from their homes as the province was ravaged by heavy rainfall and extensive flooding. A total of 32 states of local emergency would be declared, with 55,000 square kilometres of land affected.

as seen from the air on June 21, the Calgary inner city community of rideau lay underwater adjacent to the flooding elbow river. (ted rhodes, Calgary Herald)

a Canmore, alberta home devastated by the June flood. (leah Hennel, Calgary Herald)


The habiTaT spiriT Fall/Winter 2013

After several days, the rain would eventually stop and waterways would slowly recede to normal levels. But still, many families would remain uprooted and displaced, unable to return to their flood and sewage damaged homes. As part of the $6 billion in damage inflicted by the flooding, the Alberta government estimated that about 15,000 homes were damaged or completely destroyed. Today, thousands of families remain uprooted and displaced as a result. The impact of this on housing affordability in Alberta has been far-reaching. When it comes to rental housing, Calgary already had a vacancy rate near zero percent. The increased demand and reduced supply of rental housing as a result of so many families being displaced has further driven up costs, meaning greater unaffordability of the homes that do become available. In terms of

homeownership, as families look to move to higher ground to avoid the potential ramifications of future flooding, the costs of suitable housing has also been driven higher. Of Alberta’s 1.4 million households, the seven percent that are low-income and who find themselves in flood affected areas are the ones feeling the most pinched. As they look to get their lives back on track and provide a stable environment for their children, the realities of the housing market propose a major challenge. Many lowincome families who were looking to move from inadequate housing before the flood will be forced to remain. Many others are among the thousands still living in temporary housing. In Alberta, the need for suitable housing and affordable homeownership options for families like these is now greater than ever.

Training, Rebuilding, and a $6 Million Goal The people of Alberta will recover, and with the help of local volunteers and caring Canadian donors, Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta is dedicated to being a part of this.

Habitat Southern alberta’s reStore Free Store day brought High river residents some relief, distributing nearly $12,000 in donated items needed to kick-off the rebuilding of the community’s damaged homes.

40 new habitat homes Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta has the land needed to build 40 new safe, decent and affordable homes but needs to raise $6 million before walls can be raised and keys handed over to families. While helping relieve the stressed Calgary real estate market, these homes will open the doors to a world of possibility for low-income families in the Pineridge, Redstone and Evanston communities of Calgary. If you would like to help make this happen, please visit to donate. helping the Worst affected Sixty kilometres south of Calgary, High River has been referred to as ground zero of the June flooding. During peak periods, 60 percent of the town was under water. Residents evacuated as their belongings were ruined and safety and structure of their homes seriously compromised. While many residents of High River remain in flux – deciding whether to rebuild their lives or move on – Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta has tried to ease the devastation. On July 27, over 150 High River families descended upon the parking lot of a local grocery store for Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta’s ReStore Free Store day. Nearly $12,000 in donated home and construction items, ranging from door knobs and locks to baseboards and interior doors, were handed out to flood-affected families to help kick-start the rebuilding of the community. One homeowner said she had five feet of water in her basement, which had destroyed both her home office and 16-year-old’s bedroom. Nearly everyone had a similar story, and tears were shed by homeowners and volunteers alike.

this Medicine Hat Habitat home, shown here under construction, will be one of many homes applicable for Habitat Southern alberta’s reNew it program.

I lost almost everything I own. I was so excited to get new windows for my home. I truly appreciate your help and kindness. It’s organizations like yours that keep us smiling and moving forward as we rebuild our home and lives. Jennifer Tait, high river resident

Training, rebuilding Moving forward, Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta will also deploy a ReNew It program that will provide assistance to low-income families needing to rebuild their damaged homes. As well, the Habitat affiliate plans to provide construction training to the wider public so that anyone can learn the skills they need to refinish their basements and again feel a sense of comfort in their homes.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Building Blocks of a Habitat Home

Since the development of Habitat for Humanity’s first corporate partnership with the Dow Chemical Company in the United States 30 years ago, many other partnering organizations have joined in our mission by outfitting Habitat houses with many things necessary for us to build a safe and decent home for Canadian families.


The habiTaT spiriT Fall/Winter 2013

One of the most essential building blocks in constructing homes for Habitat’s partner families are the materials and products necessary to build and the basics that help make a ‘house’ into a ‘home’. Everything from lumber and building materials to furnaces and home appliances.

Toilets, sinks, faucets, piping, plumbing systems and other supplies from CIPH members keep the water running.

Drywall and drywall materials

provide walls that transform a construction frame into a home.

Load centers

house the breakers that power Habitat homes and keep families safe.

Windows and doors provided

to Habitat ReStores and installed in Habitat homes.

Energy Star refrigerators and stoves

are donated to every new Habitat build, helping the kitchen become the heart of the home.

Insulation and installation materials keep

Habitat homes warm and energy efficient.

Foundation insulation, house wrap and foam sealant protect Habitat homes from the elements.

Blinds and window treatments adorn

every new Habitat home built in Canada.

Furnaces and heat-recovery ventilators and installation

from HRAI members keep Habitat homes ‘habitable’ whatever the season.

Born of a common purpose, The Dow Chemical Company and Habitat for Humanity have developed one of the world’s greatest philanthropic collaborations. Dow was Habitat for Humanity International’s first corporate partner and over its three-plus decades of support, Dow has been instrumental in the construction of nearly 39,000 homes in 24 countries on six continents.

Purchase Quality Products and Building Materials and Support Habitat Builds in Your Community Many gift-in-kind donations of high-quality new and used building materials, furniture, appliances and home décor are made directly to Habitat ReStores, for sale to the general public. Funds raised from ReStore sales directly support home building in your community. Visit your nearest ReStore today.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Nationwide Hammer Tour Builds Affordable Homes to Impact Youth In August, The Home Depot Canada Foundation’s Hammer Tour saw over 500 Home Depot store associates visit Habitat for Humanity build sites across Canada. At each stop, they brought much needed financial and volunteer support, bringing Habitat families even nearer to their safe and decent Habitat homes. In Winnipeg, the Van De Keere’s home benefitted from a $30,000 donation and several days of hard work put in by Home Depot associates from surrounding stores. Six-year-old Cadence Van De Keere, who will soon move into her Habitat home with her brother and mom, says she’s looking forward to the safer neighbourhood her new home is in, having a quiet place to study, and being able to take her toys out of storage – put there because her last home simply wasn’t big enough for her family. This year’s Hammer Tour placed an emphasis on creating homes for families with youth and more than 60 children of Habitat families will move into homes supported during the Tour.

Habitat for Humanity Canada

Recognizes Green Building Excellence

Johannes (front right) with the ali family, recipients of a Habitat-renovated home in Ottawa, 2011.


The habiTaT spiriT Fall/Winter 2013

Johannes Ziebarth of Ottawa has been honoured with the fifth-annual Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life National Award for Leadership in Sustainable and Affordable Home Building. The award was created in 2009 and encourages Habitat volunteers to both champion affordable housing need as well as adopt sustainable building practices to address “energy poverty” – an affordability issue many households face in the wake of increasing utility costs. An electrical contractor by trade, Johannes has provided the equivalent of $750,000 in support to Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region through his personal contributions and fundraising efforts. He has also wired every Habitat home built by his local affiliate since first becoming a volunteer in 1990. Johannes’ efforts have also resulted in a collaborative partnership between Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region and Bonneville Homes, a builder of sustainable

pre-engineered homes, enabling his local Habitat affiliate to build green for several years to come. The annual recognition awarded to Johannes provides a Habitat for Humanity volunteer with $25,000 for direction toward a sustainable Habitat building project. Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, along with their staff and distribution associates, have a long history of supporting Habitat for Humanity Canada, providing funds for multiple builds and contributing hundreds of volunteer hours each year. It’s because of the dedication of Canadians like Johannes and financial partners like these that Habitat for Humanity is able to continue to serve hundreds of more Canadian families with safe, decent and sustainable homes each year.


naTional parTners

the key to Habitat for Humanity Canada’s success is the generous contributions we receive from our corporate, foundation, individual and government partners. thank you to all of them. and a special thank you to our committed multi-year partners; your long-term investment helps us plan into the future and better achieve our mission to build sustainable communities across the country. to view our complete donor list, visit to learn more about partnership opportunities, contact Matthew Gustafson at (416) 644-0988 ext. 352 or legAcy PArtners

(multi-year partners)

PlAtinUm PArtners

Residential Mortgages Commercial Mortgages Construction Loans

(single-year partner)

(multi-year partners)

gold PArtners

Tachane Foundation (single-year partner)

(multi-year partners)

silver PArtners

(single-year partners)

(multi-year partners)

BronZe PArtners

(multi-year partners)

(single-year partners)

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Build Your own HaBitat Home 100% of net proceeds from this everyday essentials Gingerbread House Kit will go towards transforming even more lives through Habitat homeownership. with your help, many more Canadians will have a home to call their own this holiday season. Purchase the everyday essentials Gingerbread House Kit for yourself or as a gift at select loblaw banner stores including real Canadian Superstore.

My Pretty Playhouse Made in Canada from 100% recycled cardboard, this customizable playhouse is sure to be a favourite with the little ones! and with $2 donated to Habitat for each playhouse sold, there has never been a better time to shop Boutique Cascades.


habitat for humanity canada upholds the highest standards of accountability and transparency. Our reputation is our most important asset, and maintaining strong and open relations with our supporters is a top priority.

For this reason, Habitat for Humanity Canada is one of imagine Canada’s ethical Code Program participants, meaning that we commit to the guidelines set in imagine Canada’s ethical Fundraising and Financial accountability Code. For more information, please visit

THS: Fall 2013  

The Habitat Spirit, a publication of Habitat for Humanity Canada, seeks to promote communication, discussion and networking among Habitat fo...

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