Angie Dunn and her two children, Teagan and Stewart (Stuey), were chosen as the recipient family for Weyburn’s first Habitat for Humanity home.
Committee members of Weyburn Habitat for Humanity gathered at the City Centre Mall on Friday to meet the family.
“We are here to change one family’s life,” said Winston Bailey, chair of Weyburn Habitat for Humanity. “The Habitat for Humanity program is an incredible program where it takes a family from not quite qualifying for a home ownership, to that home ownership availability.”
“It is very exciting for this to be the very first time — hopefully the first of many to come — that we have a new family become home owners through the Habitat for Humanity program.”
Angie was very emotional and excited for the opportunity. “This means everything to my family, it is the hand-up that we needed. There is no chance we would have ever gotten a house on our own, and now I can give my children a home with help from Habitat from Humanity.”
Currently, Angie and her children reside in a Weyburn Housing duplex. “It has been fine, but I have always wanted to be a home owner, and without Habitat it would have not happened.”
Teagan expressed her hopes to have a nice place to give the family more space. Both she and Stuey have looked at a lot of designs for their bedrooms, and have expressed their desire to add another pet to their family.
“It is so unreal and overwhelming, and I am looking forward to telling everyone, and get volunteers to help us build our new house,” said Angie.
Habitat for Humanity Canada believes that every Canadian family deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home; their goal is to make that dream a reality.
The new Habitat for Humanity home will be built at 412 Victoria Street. There is already a house on the property which will be torn down to make room for the new construction. An official sod-turning ceremony will be announced later this spring, which will start the construction for the new home for Angie, Teagan and Stuey.
“The sod turning will involve both provincial and city officials in a ceremony,” said Bailey.
Plans for the construction will be drawn up in the coming weeks, taking the family’s number of children and needs into account.
Once the plans are finalized, a budget will be drawn up. Thousands of dollars are still required for the project as well as volunteers to help build it.
“If everything goes together, I really hope we will see construction starting by the middle of May, and then have total completion by mid or late fall,” said Bailey. He really wants to see the family in their new home no later than Christmas.
Bailey clarified that this home was not a gift to the family, since they will earn the home. The family will pay their own mortgage for the house, and put “sweat equity” of 500 hours into the construction.
From that 500 hours, Angie and her children will be personally responsible for 150 hours, with the other 350 accepted from their friends and family.
Any residents who feel they can help build the home are encouraged to contact the Habitat for Humanity project. “This program is about involving as many people as possible to make it work,” said Bailey.
“Everybody will be able to find a job suitable to their capabilities,” added Bailey. He added that even cooking food or bringing cold drinks for the volunteers on-site is appreciated.
“We hope to generate more excitement for this Habitat for Humanity project,” said Bailey. He added that interested volunteers or donors can contact any member of the Weyburn Habitat for Humanity committee.
Once the Weyburn Habitat for Humanity has all their funds raised for the new home, the provincial government will give $50,000 as part of their commitment to the program.
There is a lot of potential for the Habitat for Humanity project to continue in Weyburn too, as Bailey noted they had many applicants for this first home.
“There were several families that were very close to meeting all the specifications required by Habitat for Humanity,” said Bailey. He noted that the Weyburn committee was guided through the process by the Regina Habitat for Humanity group.
Each Habitat for Humanity affiliate chooses homeowners based on the same three criteria: the applicants’ level of need; their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the non-profit, no-interest loan. Neither race nor religion were a factor in choosing the families.
“We are a smaller community, and our goal right now is to build one Habitat for Humanity home a year,” said Bailey.
He noted that the first home will be the hardest, since it took 20 months of organizing and there were many learning curves for the Weyburn committee.