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2011 News and Views for the Friends of Habitat for Humanity Canada

Our National Leadership Council

and a way for all Canadians to show their support

Habitat Resource Centres Another way we’re giving a ‘hand up’ abroad

Building Homes and Possibility for Aboriginal Families

2,000 homes and counting

A Message from our President & CEO

Habitat’s Proven Approach to Building Stronger Communities



abitat for Humanity’s origins can be traced to a farm in central Georgia, where in the mid-1970s a movement began centered around the concept of partnership housing. The idea was quite simple; those who had resources would help those who didn’t by donating funds towards affordable housing. Everyone would then work side by side to build homes together. The ultimate goal was to provide safe and decent housing to those who could not afford it otherwise. The homes were made affordable by not requiring partner families to pay a down payment, and by not collecting interest on their mortgage. Home payments would go into a “Fund for Humanity”, which would be used to build or fix up more houses for more families in need. Today, the concept remains the same, and the Habitat model has now resulted in 500,000 homes being dedicated to low-income Habitat partner families worldwide. Having provided the hand up of homeownership to so many over the years, we now have a strong sense of what good housing means to families and the communities they live in. We’ve found that a Habitat home is so much more than four walls and a roof; it’s a point of transformation that allows families to break the cycle of poverty and live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives. We’ve also found the resulting impact of this on the surrounding community to be diverse and far-reaching. Recently, Canada’s National Council of Welfare released a unique report that looked at the cost of poverty in Canada by taking into account both direct and indirect costs. It found the price we’re paying for the preventable consequences of poverty to be much

The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

too high. Making stable housing available to everyone that needs it, the report found, would cost much less than the hospital, ambulance and short-term shelter bills resulting from housing insecurity. The report went on to urge that our government switch to an investment approach, as “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. It’s yet to be seen whether measures will be taken to move to a more proactive investment approach to tackling poverty in Canada, but at Habitat for Humanity, this is the approach our organization was founded on, and that we’ve taken for decades. We invest in families’ futures by providing access to affordable homeownership, we invest in individuals by providing training to ensure that new Habitat partners are able to smoothly transition to homeownership, and we invest in stronger Canadian communities, with neighbourhoods coming together around our builds and benefitting from the longterm effects of fewer families being housing insecure. This has all been made possible by your support of Habitat for Humanity Canada, and as we continue doing what we’ve always done, but with an emphasis on serving more families than ever before, I hope that together we will continue to champion Canada’s affordable housing crisis.

Stewart Hardacre President & CEO Habitat for Humanity Canada

contents 04 dwell

Habitat for Humanity Canada News & Views

06 360

A Gateway to More Homes and Stronger Communities


National Leadership Council


Habitat for Humanity Abroad

and a way for all Canadians to show their support

Habitat Resource Centres are another way Habitat gives a ‘hand up’

14 Aboriginal Housing Program Building Homes and Possibility for Aboriginal Families

16 We Can Because You Do Habitat for Humanity Canada Volunteer Award Winners


Great Ways to Support Habitat for Humanity this Holiday Season

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 Rd., Suite 105, Toronto, ON M4S 2L9 1.800.667.5137 Fax: 416.646.0574



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

Erin O’Hara Kim Sprenger Soapbox Design Communications Inc. RR Donnelley HFHI

To donate, participate or advocate, visit



Habitat for Humanity Canada News & Views


decor Habitat for Humanity Atlantic Kitchen Party In Atlantic Canada, the first Habitat for Humanity Kitchen Party was held on August 27th to promote awareness around the local need for affordable housing, as well as the work that Habitat for Humanity does. “Kitchens are the center of our homes in Atlantic Canada. They’re where families gather before setting out each morning, and where they come together at the end to recall each day’s events,” said Susan Zambonin, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity PEI. “We wanted to bring our communities together in a similar

fashion, because at Habitat for Humanity, much like with the families we serve, we operate best when we all work together.” In total, five kitchen parties were held, with events including pancake breakfasts, live entertainment, birdhouse assembling, and of course, the building of Habitat homes, taking place in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick.

Ride for Habitat Rides Again! This year’s Ride for Habitat, jointly sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) and the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, saw 58 riders depart from Waterloo, Hamilton, Vaughan and Kingston/ Belleville, all headed to Barrie in benefit of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “No matter which route you took, the scenery was beautiful and it was a great way to fundraise for a great cause,” said Simon Blake, one of the event organizers. In total, the second annual ride, held on August 20th, raised $11,000 to be used towards the building of affordable housing for low-income Canadian families. This amount is in addition to the over $7.6 million in cash and product donations CIPH and its member organizations have donated to Habitat for Humanity Canada since 1994. Planning is already underway for next year’s event.


The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

When Geoff Zanetti decided to open a bistro this summer in Windsor, Ontario, he knew he wanted a classic pub feel. To create that backdrop, he went to the Habitat WindsorEssex ReStore. “My light fixtures, moldings, a candle chandelier, light switch covers, and other odds and ends all came from the ReStore,” Zanetti says. “Add that to what we had, and it’s pretty magical in here.” Find the ReStore nearest you at restore.


2,000 Building 2,000 homes in less than 26 years has taken time, effort and resources. To date, Habitat for Humanity has worked with more than 300,000 volunteers in Canada, who have logged more than 11.2 million hours on build sites. These volunteers, working under the direction of trained professionals, have hammered 35.4 million nails and screwed in 56,000 light bulbs. They have also installed more than 3,000 toilets, 5,000 sinks, 24,000 windows and 36,000 doors, and have applied 80,000 gallons of paint to help transform the Habitat houses into homes! On June 18th, their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs.

His Excellency lending a hand to help build the 2,000th house.

Homes and Counting

Sharon Johnston, joined us in Winnipeg to raise the walls of our 2,000th home in Canada and Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg’s 200th home. The Governor General — as vice-regal patron of Habitat for Humanity Canada — and his wife expressed their congratulations for reaching these milestones by building alongside volunteers and partner families, as well as the Right Honourable Edward Schreyer, former governor general of Canada, who was also in attendance. “Over the last 26 years, Habitat for Humanity in Canada has provided safe, decent and affordable homes to more than 8,000 Canadians, including approximately 6,000 children,” said Stewart Hardacre, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “It has been a pleasure to watch these families involve themselves in their communities, enjoy better health and improved education, and get better jobs as a result of owning their own home.

Watching them break out of the cycle of poverty makes all the hard work worthwhile.” Our 2,000th home in Canada, sponsored by The Home Depot Canada Foundation, is located at 871 Nairn Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba — next door to Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg’s 200th house, sponsored by Schneider Electric. Now complete, the 2,000th house is a 1,200 square foot two-story side-by-side home with three bedrooms. Jeffrey, Rowena and their son and daughter have now taken possession of the home. The family had previously lived in a cramped one bedroom apartment with very poor insulation and no nearby space for the kids to play. Before hearing that they had been approved for Habitat homeownership, they felt cramped, isolated and trapped without any escape. Now, they have a newfound sense of hope and are ecstatic at the opportunity of affordable homeownership.

Read About What “Home” Means to Them Five years of Meaning of Home Winning Entries to be Published in a Commemorative Book

Since 2007, Genworth Financial Canada has asked students across Canada to write about what “home” means to them. Each year has resulted in students becoming more engaged and interested in writing, tens of thousands of dollars being donated to Habitat for Humanity Canada through contest prizing, as well as plenty of heart-warming student entries! For the Meaning of Home’s 5th Anniversary, Genworth Financial is publishing the five years of winning entries in a commemorative book, which will be sold with all proceeds going towards local Habitat for Humanity projects. Pre-order your copy for $11.99* today! Visit * Pre-order price valid until December 31st.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


A Gateway to More Homes and Stronger Communities A Habitat home is much more than four walls and a roof; it represents a transformation that touches the lives of many, starting long before ground is ever broken, and ending long after its keys are handed over to the family that purchases the home through an affordable no-interest mortgage. For example, Habitat homes have contributed to a “greening” of our communities, with the majority now built to recognized green building standards. It is estimated that each of these homes can reduce CO 2 emissions by up to 2.5 metric tons per year compared with conventional code built homes, while reductions in homeowner utility costs can be up to 30 percent. Further, the planning of a Habitat project in an area with largely older housing stock has often sparked a phase of neighbourhood revitalization, leading to further economic investment being made within the community, benefitting all residents. For our volunteers, those of all ages have generally reported a stronger connection

to their communities after working with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, often becoming regular volunteers while also inspiring others to act. And of course, our partner families are affected most by this transformation. Through the reduced financial burden on their household, as well as the security of a safe, affordable home, families are able to switch their focus from surviving to thriving. This type of impact on individuals, families and the community has been proven to lessen the economic burden on society in the areas of social services, justice, and healthcare.

Sharing Our Vision To date, almost sixty 360 Built Smart Partnership grants have been made available to Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Canada in order to support the five key areas that have been proven to build sustainable communities: family outreach and education; homebuilding and environmental impact; volunteer engagement; local collaboration and partnership; and safety. These grants have been made possible through financial support received from donors like Holcim (Canada) Inc. and The Home Depot Canada Foundation. Now we are asking you to consider making an investment in a stronger community by supporting the 360 Built Smart Partnership, because together we can achieve a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. To learn more or make a donation, visit


The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

Escalating Our Proven Approach Housing need continues to be a real and persistent issue in Canada, where one in seven children still lives in poverty and four million people are in core housing need. As a nation, Canada once prided itself as a world leader in affordable housing – however recently, the United Nations declared that we are facing a national emergency on poverty, welfare, homelessness, and housing. With 72 Habitat for Humanity affiliate offices across Canada, and over 50,000 willing volunteers devoted to the cause, our organization is currently gearing-up to provide affordable housing to more low-income families than ever before. But in order to do so, we must first ensure that each of our Habitat for Humanity affiliates, spread across Canada’s largest cities and serving some of our nation’s most rural communities, are able to succeed in the task at hand. More homes means that more willing volunteers must be inspired to become involved with our work, safety trained and coordinated on more build sites; a greater number of partnerships must be established with local organizations and governments to help us overcome one of our major obstacles: the acquisition of land; and our affiliates must work with more partner families to ensure that they have the tools they need to successfully transition to homeownership. Canada’s need for affordable housing is great. Habitat for Humanity Canada can and must do more, and it starts with our 360 Built Smart Partnership.

Our National Leadership Council Brett Marchand Chair, National Leadership Council President & CEO, Cossette


Habitat for Humanity Canada’s National Leadership Council Tuesday, November 22nd, we launched our National Leadership Council, a group of influential Canadians brought together by the shared belief that safe, decent, and affordable housing is the key to building stronger, more sustainable communities. Together, our Council will work to raise the profile of the national and international affordable housing crisis by acting as ambassadors of Habitat for Humanity Canada. Following the launch, one of the Council’s first acts was to issue a National Platform on Affordable Housing, detailing Habitat for Humanity Canada’s beliefs, and commitments in creating solutions to the world affordable housing crisis. Council

On National Housing Day,


members have signed their name to the Platform to show their support, and we hope that you will now do the same. Sign Your Name and $5 Will be Donated to Help Low-Income Families

By signing our Platform, in addition to showing your personal support, you will also be helping low-income families achieve affordable homeownership, as for each signature, MCAP Service Corporation will generously donate $5 to Habitat for Humanity Canada. Further, if you choose to make a personal donation when signing, MCAP will also match the donated amount*. You can sign your name by visiting

*Up to $20,000 in total donations

National Leadership Council: Helping Rebuild Haiti Even before the

National Leadership Council had officially launched, members Brett Marchand, John Thompson and Henry Banman were in Léogâne, Haiti, building homes on behalf of Habitat for Humanity Canada as part of the 2011 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Léogâne, a coastal city in western Haiti near the epicenter of the 2010 7.0-magnitude earthquake, was considered one of the worst-affected areas following the quake, with 80 to 90 percent of buildings damaged or destroyed and tens of thousands of people left homeless or displaced.

A month after the earthquake, Habitat for Humanity International set the goal of helping 50,000 earthquake-effected families through a multi-year effort that would include relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The one-week Carter Work Project, held from November 5th to 12th, saw international volunteers build about 100 core homes, and kicked-off a two-year rebuilding project in Léogâne with the goal of constructing up to 500 homes, serving approximately 2,500 individuals.

s the leader of Canada’s largest advertising & communications agency, I am in the persuasion business. Every day, I try to help our clients persuade people that they build a better mousetrap, have a better plan or sell for a better price. However, my greatest satisfaction comes from helping to convince Canadians to work towards making the world a better place. And for me, there is no greater need than to persuade Canadians to deal with the world’s affordable housing crisis. I am honoured to have this opportunity to Chair Habitat for Humanity Canada’s National Leadership Council, and am eager to work on behalf of the organization and everyone in need of safe, decent, and affordable housing. I am joined on the Council by these Canadian leaders: • Stewart Hardacre, Habitat for Humanity Canada • Annette Verschuren, (Former President) The Home Depot Canada • Hank Stackhouse, Delta Hotels and Resorts • Paul Ostrander, Holcim (Canada) Inc. • Dave Perkins, Molson Coors Canada • Frank Geier, GFS Foods Canada Ltd. • Shawn Atleo, Assembly of First Nations • Jean LaRose, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network • Rusty Sutherland, Tachane Foundation • John Thompson, MCAP Service Corporation • Gail Lilley, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP • Michael Dobbins, Royal Bank of Canada • Simon O’Byrne, Stantec • Henry Banman, All Weather Windows • Dr. Penny Gurstein, University of British Columbia All of us firmly believe in the work of Habitat for Humanity Canada and many of us have partnered with the organization over the years, but I am confident that each of our greatest contributions is yet to come.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Habitat & Whirlpool helping families

The Chiu family receiving the key to their new Habitat home.

Worldwide, tens of thousands of Habitat homes will be dedicated to low-income families this year. Every one will have been supported in some way by the Whirlpool Corporation. Five years ago, Whirlpool set an extraordinary goal of supporting every Habitat home built worldwide – through a combination of product, cash and volunteer support – by their centennial year in 2011. Today, Whirlpool is on track to reach this goal, and by the end of the year, will have made a significant contribution towards every Habitat home built globally in 2011. When Whirlpool sponsors a home, employees roll up their sleeves

Since 2007, Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Canada have been recipient to five entire homes sponsored by Whirlpool, each also bringing hundreds of hours of volunteer support from dedicated Whirlpool employees.


Recent Whirlpool-sponsored Habitat homes in Canada

In 2010, Whirlpool sponsored an energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity Halton home built in Oakville, ON. Once complete, the home enabled the Chiu family to escape the apartment they had previously rented, which was unsafe due to a lack of fire escapes, and that suffered from pest problems. “I can’t believe this is our home now. I’ve always wanted to live in a place where you can hang in the backyard and see the beautiful grass,” said Stephanie Chiu’s eleven-year-old son, Jaysun. “In our old house, I shared a room with my brother and sister, and my mom put a mat on the floor and we slept in the living room. So it’s going to be so different when we move in. When I first stepped in and looked at the street and saw all the houses, I thought: I can get a job shoveling neighbors’ driveways and parking lots. The neighborhood is everything I ever wished for.”


For their 100th Anniversary, Whirlpool is sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity Wellington County semi-detached home being built now in Guelph, ON. In total, 150 Whirlpool employees – the most


The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

Whirlpool employees that have ever helped build a Habitat home in Canada – will have generously volunteered their time to help complete the home by the time it’s dedicated to a Habitat partner family at the end of November. David Pipe from Whirlpool Canada is one of these volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to help build the home over the past three months. “Our 2011 Habitat home build is in an older area in Guelph. We got there nice and early and met with the Build Supervisor, who briefed us on safety and what we’d be doing for the day. Since the only thing built to that point was the foundation, we spent the day framing the exterior walls. The Build Supervisor was very amiable and organized and we were able to get right to work and continued to be productive all day. Everyone had a great time; enjoying the teamwork, the fruits of our labour, and lots of laughs. We completed and raised three exterior walls. At the end of the day, we could all see that we had made a difference for the family that would soon move in to the home.”

Whirlpool’s contributions by the numbers • In

North America, Whirlpool donates a new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator and stove to every Habitat home build. In total, they have donated 130,000 appliances to date – an average of 27 every day since their partnership with Habitat for Humanity began in 1999.

• Whirlpool

has hosted team builds for 7,000 of their employees.

• Whirlpool’s

total contribution of $72 million has impacted the lives of 82,000 Habitat partner families worldwide.

To learn more about their 2011 home, check out Whirlpool Canada on Facebook – they tracked the home’s completion from beginning to end! –

Good Neighbours Make Great Partners


n 2009, Delta Hotels and Resorts named Habitat for Humanity Canada as their national charitable partner and generously committed to donate $750,000 in financial and in-kind support over three years. Nearing the end of their original commitment, we are now proud to announce that Delta has far surpassed this amount, and have donated more than $1.5 million, as well as countless hours of volunteer support in order to make Habitat homeownership available to even more low-income Canadian families! Through Delta’s corporate social responsibility program, Delta Helps, as well as their community engagement campaign, the Good Neighbours Challenge, the organization has also positioned themselves as a leader when it comes to housing and affordable homeownership. Through their efforts, Delta has made an undeniable contribution towards creating awareness of Canada’s affordable housing crisis, as well as the work we do at Habitat for Humanity Canada.

Part of a mural now hanging in the Delta Sault Ste. Marie, painted by local artist Heather Sinnott to commemorate the Delta home.

His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston spotted again! This time visiting the Ali family at their soon-to-be completed Habitat-retrofitted home in Ottawa.

Stewart Hardacre,

President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity Canada


Looking back:

The Cruiser Ambassadors crossing the finish line in St. John’s after having travelled 12,000 km coast to coast.

“Every day, families wake up in their homes, their lives having been transformed, thanks to partnerships like these championed by compassionate organizations like Delta Hotels and Resorts.”

On June 1st, 2009, Delta launched its first summer-long, Canada-wide Delta Community Cruiser tour to raise awareness and funds for charities in each of the cities Delta calls home. Travelling from Victoria, BC, to St. John’s, NL, in a hybrid Toyota Prius, the Cruiser Ambassadors swung a hammer or hosted a community event at each stop along the way to benefit Habitat for Humanity and other local charities.

“The purpose of the tour was to show Canadians how easy it is to make an impact on their local community,” said Hank Stackhouse, President and CEO of Delta Hotels and Resorts. “It was incredible to see thousands of Delta employees pull together throughout the tour to help their neighbours and make a difference right in their own backyards.”

In 2010, a portion of Delta’s contribution was used to sponsor the building of a Habitat home in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. The home was built for the Lacasse family of six and was partly completed by a construction class at a local high school before being moved to its current location on Sydenham Road in the northwest part of the city. The Lacasse family had previously been living in a cramped co-op townhouse with no

yard, which was located in an unsafe neighbourhood. At the dedication ceremony, twelve-yearold Nicolas Lacasse was not short of words to describe his enthusiasm, “I’m so excited. Finally we’ll have a backyard where we can play soccer and other games. My favourite part is that now everyone’s got a place for themselves where they can just do their own thing.”

This year, Delta is sponsoring a home retrofit currently underway in Ottawa, ON. As part of the retrofit, an older home in need of repair was purchased by Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region before its windows, furnace, hot water heater and insulation were replaced. Just like any Habitat home, this one is being sold to a low-income partner family through a no-interest, no down payment mortgage that’s geared to their income. Before the home is dedicated, Habitat for Humanity



National Capital Region volunteers will also make accessible modifications to the home to ensure that the partner family’s youngest child, who has a physical disability, will be comfortable living there. This year, Delta’s President and CEO Hank Stackhouse also generously committed to becoming part of Habitat for Humanity Canada’s National Leadership Council. Read more about the National Leadership Council on page 7.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit



National Partners single



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. PLATINUM Partners

silver Partners

bronze Partners

We are fortunate to have many committed partners – not all could be listed here. To view our complete donor list, please visit To learn more about partnership opportunities, contact Matthew Gustafson at (416) 644-0988 ext. 352 or 10

The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

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.



legacy Partners



gold Partners

Tachane Foundation silver Partners

Bronze Partners

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Beyond Affordable Homes

Internationally, Habitat Resource Centres are another way that Habitat helps give a ‘hand up’ Since 1999, Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan has partnered with families throughout the former Soviet nation. In so much of the mountainous country, life can be as difficult as the Tajik culture is colorful. In rural areas, work can be hard to find; in the cities, it’s land that can be elusive. But families everywhere hunger for a chance to make a change. In Tajikistan, that change takes different forms — new construction or the completion of half-finished houses, renovation or disaster-mitigating reinforcement of existing houses and apartments, the development of vocational and construction skills through building and training centres, the provision of innovative, low-cost water filters. Some families have spent years in their Habitat houses, grown in them as they cooked and studied and met challenges and made plans. Others — more all the time — are just starting down that road of promise and potential. Habitat’s work begins anew


The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

each morning. And so do the everyday lives of Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan’s partner families. In his small shop on the outskirts of the village of Shaydon, master carpenter Munin Yuldoshev is hard at work. This morning he’s making window frames, methodically planing the wood with the help of his young assistant, Suhrob. The two work quietly, only the sound of their tools and the shavings from their work filling the air. When he was a young boy, Munin remembers going to work with his father and watching him make things. From his father and grandfather, he says, he learned all of the practices of being a carpenter, but he knew he needed to understand the theory behind them. And if he ever wanted to own a shop of his own, he needed official certification. Because employment and skills training can be as scarce in Shaydon as good housing, Habitat for Humanity Tajikistan — with support from Habitat for Humanity Canada and in partnership with the district’s Department of Education — has opened a building and training centre. The facility offers construction-related and vocational training; its students generate materials that are sold to the public at affordable prices or are used in ongoing

Habitat house construction and renovation projects. Graduates like Mumin are instantly positioned to find work — or to open their own businesses. One student at a time, Habitat is creating skill sets, the financial stability required for better housing and the hope that comes with finding the right path. The road that runs past Mumin’s carpentry shop continues into Shaydon and turns into a tree-lined way named Somoniyon Street. Inside the open door of her storefront, Habitat training centre graduate Nigina Masharipova sits behind a gently swaying sewing table. Gingerly stretching the flowered material of a Tajik national dress, she slowly pushes down the pedal of her sewing machine with her shoe, which is adorned by a tiny black bow. The youngest child in her family, Nigina adds her income to that of her parents. She’s doing well enough to consider expanding her offerings soon. A shy 19-year-old, she’s wanted to be a tailor since she was a child, she says, dreaming of making beautiful dresses. She remembers the first one she ever sold and how she immediately used the money to buy more thread. “For me,” she shares, “to find a job is to find your way in life.”

Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

photos by steffan hacker/originally printed in habitat world

Munin Yuldoshev opened his own carpentry shop after having graduated from the Habitat Building and Training Centre in December 2010, making wooden doors and windows to sell locally.

Nigina Masharipova is a graduate of the Building and Training Centre sewing course. She’s since managed to open her own tailoring shop in Asht, preparing traditional decorations for national dresses. Nigina is the youngest of her siblings but has already started to make contribution to help support her family.

Ghor El Safi, Jordan.

Erin with Om Nishat, mother of the new homeowner.

Building a Global Village in the middle east

This was my third Habitat for Humanity Global Village Trip — but on this one I wasn’t quite sure what to expect Erin O’Hara When I told people where I was going, I got puzzled looks and ‘what are you thinking’ gazes. For a few months before I left, news headlines had been flashing about uprisings and instability across the Middle East. Amidst this uncertainty, I boarded an airplane headed halfway around the world to Jordan. I was going to a country bordered by Israel, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia. I didn’t know what I was in for but I knew it was a long way from my quiet life in Ottawa. My perception of the Middle East had been shaped almost exclusively by what I’d seen in the news. For me, that region of the world was almost synonymous with horrific scenes of violence and destruction. It was almost surreal then to set foot in a rural village in the far northern tip of Jordan and be overcome by a feeling of peacefulness. On the one hand it was just like the images we see on TV – multi-storey white brick buildings sprinkled across the rolling hills. And in this case, olive tree plantations dotting the landscape. But it was serene. There was a culture shock for sure, which I think went both ways. The locals, most of whom had never seen a Westerner up close,

looked closely at us in our jeans and long hair uncovered. And we examined them, women in long dresses with their heads – and in some cases faces – completely covered. But we were welcomed with open arms into the community. Our team was there to build a second story onto a family home so that the eldest son and his pregnant wife could have a place to raise their family. We came to know and love the mother of the man we were building the home for – Om Nishat – and her entire family. It became a routine delight to share tea with them during morning and afternoon break. And we were welcomed into their home to eat a beautifully prepared lunch each day. One day a few of the women from the team were invited to spend the morning preparing lunch with Om Nishat and some of the other local women. They sat us on the floor and set us to peeling vegetables. Of course we only spoke about five words of Arabic and they spoke even less English so our lesson had to be through demonstration. It wasn’t 10 seconds into our attempt to peel vegetables that we realized none of us

possessed any skill at all in this area. We erupted into laughter at our own ineptitude and soon the room was filled with laughter as the local women joined in, finding great humour in our attempt at cooking. It was a moment that will stay with me forever. There were four Canadian women joined by about 10 local Muslim women, who on the surface shared very little in common, joined together by laughter. And the morning only got more memorable from there. I looked over at Om Nishat sitting on the floor across from us and without a word she removed her head covering to reveal mid-length curly dark hair. Next to her, her niece took off her sparkly silver headdress. There were no men in the room and the women seemed so delighted to show us their hair – but more than that they seemed to be bonding with us, showing us how much we did in fact have in common. They revealed the clothes they wore underneath their long dresses, very similar in fact to the jeans and cotton shirts we were wearing. And then there was dancing. The local women grabbed our hands and insisted we join them in dancing around the room. I’m sure the music and laughter filled the entire village. At that moment there was no more cultural divide. We were all women. Take away the superficial differences in appearances and we were all very much the same. I couldn’t help but feel so profoundly fortunate to be where I was. After all, how many of my peers would ever have the opportunity to spend a week in a secluded rural village in Jordan living side by side with the local people? We finished building our second story and it seemed to all happen too fast. It was time to leave, but it was like leaving family that we had no idea when we’d ever see again. Our life there had become comfortable. There was not an ounce of me that longed for the so-called amenities of home – my computer, cell phone, car or other gadgets. Without all of those things, every moment seemed that much richer. As we left the worksite for the last time, Om Nishat wrapped her arms around each of us and held us tightly. She told the group through a translator that she loved us all. Now, when I think of the Middle East, I think of her warmth and her smile – and I think about all the laughter we shared. On this Habitat trip we did what we went there to do, we built a house. But I think much more importantly, we built a bridge between two cultures.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Lorelei, joined by her daughter, Ashlin (16), and son, Nathaniel (12), while helping build her Habitat home. Like every Habitat partner, Lorelei was required to contribute 500 hours of sweat equity to the building of her home.

Building Homes and Possibility for Aboriginal Families Lorelei was the first in her family to graduate from high school, attend university, and be fully employed as a family support worker. Despite these accomplishments, she found herself trapped in a cycle of poverty and unaffordable housing. 14

The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

In Canada, access to affordable housing is a major obstacle for many, and the crisis is even more acute for Aboriginal peoples in Canada, with one in four families living in core housing need. This is why the Sutherland Family has been involved with Northern and Native Communities for three generations and why we are now partnering with Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Aboriginal Housing Program through 2015 and into the foreseeable future. Through partnership, we can do more – and more must be done. Rusty Sutherland

President, Tachane Foundation


orelei grew up in Fort Rouge, Manitoba, and made her way to university with the sponsorship of her First Nation community. However, as a single mother, she could not afford housing that was both safe enough and suitable to raise her family. To find a suitable neighbourhood that she could afford required Lorelei to move 11 times in the course of a decade, until her sister persuaded her to apply to Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg. To her surprise, her application was approved almost immediately. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Aboriginal Housing Program, Lorelei is now a proud homeowner who has finally found stability and security. She can decorate her house to suit her family’s needs and, more importantly, enjoy the safety and freedom of homeownership.

Two priorities of our corporate social responsibility are economic impact and community building. Good housing is inextricably linked to both, so partnering with Habitat for Humanity and their Aboriginal Housing Program, which targets some of Canada’s most vulnerable and notoriously underserviced communities, was something that came with immense support from across our organization. Each year, we all pride ourselves with being able to provide more Aboriginal families with the hand up of a home they can afford. Michael Dobbins Senior Vice President, Head, Mortgage and Consumer Lending, RBC

At PCL, giving back to the communities we work within, as well as to causes that are important to our employees, are strong guiding principles of our corporate social responsibility. Having always maintained a strong presence in the North, and with twenty percent of our workforce being of First Nations, Metis or Inuit decent, partnering with an organization that is able to provide affordable homeownership solutions to Aboriginal Canadians was a natural fit for us. Sean Barnes PCL Construction District Manager

The Aboriginal Housing Program Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg had worked with Aboriginal families before, but the program Lorelei applied for — the Aboriginal Housing Program — was the result of a new and unique partnership between Habitat for Humanity Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC works to help Aboriginal families and communities improve their housing conditions. Recognizing the need for sustainable housing for Aboriginal Canadian families, CMHC and Habitat for Humanity Canada formed their partnership in 2007 to launch Habitat for Humanity’s pilot Aboriginal Housing Program. The goal of the program is to help Habitat for Humanity’s affiliates across Canada make the Habitat homeownership model available to more Aboriginal families, both on- and off-reserve.

“Habitat for Humanity Canada had come to realize that the distinct challenges faced by Aboriginal families required special attention. The organization recognized that these distinct challenges needed to be better understood before seeking to address them.” – Jay Thakar, senior CMHC secondee working with HFHC Through the initiative, Habitat has been able to leverage CMHC’s expertise and decades-long connection with Aboriginal communities across Canada. Under the Program, Habitat for Humanity affiliates across Canada work with Aboriginal organizations and families. These organizations can recommend Aboriginal families that show financial stability and potential for homeownership, but are unable to afford a down payment — in short, families who meet Habitat for Humanity’s normal selection criteria. Families that are approved can purchase homes without a down payment, and are offered a long-term mortgage that is interest-free. To date, the Aboriginal Housing Program has provided over 30 families with the hand up of homeownership thanks to the continuing support of CMHC, additional program sponsors PCL Construction and Tachane Foundation, and individual gifts made to the program. “This has proven an excellent way for Habitat for Humanity to reach out to Canadian Aboriginal communities, where housing remains a considerable challenge,” says Stewart Hardacre, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “For the future, we envision completing a further 15 to 20 homes annually under the Program.”

Tachane Foundation

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


Habitat for Humanity Canada:

Austin Knowlton

recognized for his key role in building green and growing his Habitat affiliate Austin Knowlton, a longtime,

“ Being a volunteer has given me something satisfying to do. It provides a satisfying outlet for personal energy.”

pivotal member of Habitat for Humanity Halton’s volunteer team, is the recipient of this year’s Great-West Life, London Life & Canada Life National Award for Leadership in Sustainable and Affordable Home Building. The annual recognition, now in its third year, awards $25,000 to a Habitat for Humanity volunteer in Canada for direction toward a Habitat for Humanity sustainable building project. The award was created for two reasons: first, to inspire more individuals to champion affordable and sustainable homeownership in their communities, and second, to encourage building practices that focus on a household’s ecological footprint, lessening the impact of utility costs on Canadian families. As a committed, hands-on and often full-time volunteer with the Halton affiliate since 1999, Austin has played a key role in its success. Drawing on his background as a senior industrial project manager, Austin has been involved in nearly every aspect of the affiliate’s operation at some point. He led the development of its homebuilding program and helped construct its first home. Austin has also secured more than $800,000 in gift-in-kind donations over the past 12 years.

2011 Award Winners

While it’s not always easy ‘being green’, the two homes Austin helped build in 2010 each earned BuiltGreen™ Gold Certification. Each year, these homes will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2.5 cubic tons, while reducing homeowner costs by up to 30 percent. In total, Austin has logged more than 11,000 volunteer hours in planning, site design, hands-on construction and supervision. Leading by example, he’s also recruited an average of 10 volunteers per year to help in the operation of Habitat for Humanity Halton and in the building of their 13 homes. For Austin, there’s no such thing as “downtime” – he continues to represent Habitat for Humanity Halton at many public speaking engagements, helping grow awareness and build partnerships in the community. “Austin is an example of a truly outstanding contributor to our affiliate,” said Anne Swarbrick, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Halton. “His consistent generosity of time and talent, as well as his enthusiasm and positive nature, have been a remarkable asset to our organization. I personally extend my congratulations and thanks to Austin.” It’s no surprise Austin is directing the $25,000 award to Habitat for Humanity Halton.

Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life’s longstanding commitment to Habitat for Humanity Canada 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, sponsoring multiple builds and contributing hundreds of hours to the cause. In 2009, Great-West Life and its subsidiaries made a five-year commitment of $250,000 to support this award and sustainable homebuilding in Canada.


The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011

Interested in Volunteering? Visit to find your nearest affiliate office. To volunteer internationally, visit

Karen with her Kenneth J. Meinert Leadership Award.

Joe being presented with the National Volunteer of the Year Award at the Habitat for Humanity Annual General Meeting, held in Vancouver last May.

A Leader In The Truest Sense

2011 Kenneth J. Meinert Leadership Award: Karen Alexander

This year’s Kenneth J. Meinert Leadership Award winner has demonstrated selfless service to Habitat for Humanity for over a decade, both locally and nationally. Congratulations to Karen Alexander from Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland & Labrador, whose compassion, dignity and graciousness have made her a worthy recipient of this respected leadership award. Karen Alexander is a leader in the truest sense of the word. While committing personally to the work that needs to be done, her leadership skills simultaneously empower all those around her, so that they may also contribute in meaningful ways. She is consistent and dedicated – always willing to help when help is needed, even when family circumstances, distances and weather have made it difficult for her to do so. As a true leader, Karen always steps into the breach, carrying on and ensuring the momentum of the organization stays strong, continuing when no one else can. She is valued by Habitat for Humanity, and the other community organizations

she dedicates herself to, for her honesty, determination and respect for all those around her. Be it in church, community, matters of policy or in practical decisions, Karen’s leadership style remains gracious, consistent and fair.

“ Thank you Karen, for your exemplary vision, compassion and tact. You are a joy to work with and to follow, as you set a strong and positive example to all those around you. Thank you for your strength and your courage.” John Scoville, Executive Director,

Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland & Labrador

To donate, participate or advocate, visit


National Volunteer Award Winner Is ‘80 Years Young’

2011 National Volunteer of the Year Award: Joe Dauk

Humble, gracious, remarkable…Joe Dauk of “ Joe, you have set the bar Habitat for Humanity Regina is an outstanding for many, which is why we ambassador of the cause and the winner of the have implemented the Joe 2010 National Volunteer of the Year Award. This award recognizes the work of one Dauk Volunteer of the Year individual who, through their volunteer work, Award for Habitat Regina. has helped to advance the mission of Habitat It is also why we dedicated for Humanity in their own community. and named a build in your Joe began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Regina almost 20 years ago in 1993. name this year. And yet, Within two years, he was giving his affiliate I still feel we are under 30 to 40 volunteer hours each week, doing recognizing your love, everything from helping train volunteers, to commitment and dedication undertaking and overseeing all electrical work in each one of the affiliate’s homes. to serving families, and this Joe’s enthusiasm for the work that Habitat Affiliate. We are blessed that for Humanity does, and his willingness to help you have chosen to give so others is what’s been most appreciated by the much of your time to affiliate and everyone Joe has worked with over the years. In 2010, Habitat for Humanity making a difference for Regina demonstrated their appreciation by families in our community.” even naming a build after him! Dennis Coutts, Chief Executive Officer, While no longer an “unsung hero”, Joe Habitat for Humanity Regina often feels that his affiliate makes too big a deal of his service.

Everyday Essentials Habitat for Humanity Canada Mug Set TM

As part of a multi-year partnership, Loblaw’s Everyday EssentialsTM brand will be introducing specially designed fundraising items to Loblaw stores* across the country in benefit of Habitat for Humanity Canada. The first product is a set of four striped porcelain mugs housed in a hat box, being sold for $10. The net proceeds of the Mug Set will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Canada to help support affordable housing through programs like the 360 Built Smart Partnership. Get your mug set at a Loblaw store today! *Mug set available at Loblaw stores including Real Canadian Superstore, Maxi & Cie, Extra Foods, Zehrs and Fortinos.

In addition to offering these mugs in benefit of Habitat for Humanity Canada, we would like to thank Everyday EssentialsTM for providing $5,000 in gift certificates to be awarded to local and national volunteer award winners. 18

The Habitat spirit Fall/Winter 2011


Offering a wide range of handcrafted home decor, personal accessories, food products and much more, Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit retail organization that works with artisans and producers who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed, providing sustainable income through Fair Trade. This income helps pay for food, education, health care and housing. Thousands of volunteers in Canada and the United States work with Ten Thousand Villages in their home communities.

Home’ Paperweight — $4

For the holiday season, Ten Thousand Villages will be donating $1 from the sale of each Fair Trade Home/Maison Palewa Stone paperweight to Habitat for Humanity Canada. Skillfully crafted by Indian artisans, these palm-sized, heart-shaped stones make wonderful reminders of the importance of house and home. Throughout 2011, Ten Thousand Villages and Habitat for Humanity Canada have partnered to raise funds and awareness through a series of events and online promotions. The paperweight is available now at all 48 stores and online at

Use this logo for reductions only, do not print magenta. Do not reduce more than 40%. Magenta indicates the clear area, nothing should print in this space Color PMS 1805

Fruits & Passion Once Again Helping Make the Holidays Brighter for Habitat Families Fruits & Passion believe that beautiful wrapping enhances a gift, impresses the recipient and extends the pleasure of receiving. And that nothing beats giving a nicely wrapped gift on behalf of a good cause! Again this year, Fruits & Passion is partnering with Habitat for Humanity Canada over the holiday season, this year selling gift bags with 100% of the proceeds being donated towards the building of affordable housing for low-income Habitat partner families.

Reuse Your Gift Boxes!

Supporting Habitat Since 2003

Bags and gift boxes were designed to be decorative and reusable, so that you can enjoy your gifts even longer. They’re simply a pleasure to use again and again!

For nine years, Fruits & Passion has generously raised funds for Habitat for Humanity Canada through campaigns like this, while also bringing awareness to Canada’s need for affordable housing. In total, they have donated over $270,000.

To donate, participate or advocate, visit



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 2011  

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

THS: Fall 2011  

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