Breaking ground for a new leading edge Habitat home
Undeterred by gloomy skies, a large contingency participated in celebrating the groundbreaking of Habitat for Humanity’s latest housing project in Grand Forks. Just as the event began, clouds parted and the group was welcomed by rain. But more than the weather, words offered by community leaders ignited the spirit. Mayor Brian Taylor offered local sentiments, “I’m particularly proud of the fact that we look after our people in Grand Forks. It’s been a long-time battle for this community to find appropriate residential housing for everyone.” Bringing the national perspective, Federal Candidate Alex Atamanenko offered his remarks. “The very fact that this is the first building for developmentally disabled individuals in Canada; it’s quite a significant step! And the first one in this area that’s going to be a green-energy building,” said Atamanenko. Habitat for Humanity Boundary Society has been very active over the past few years and has enjoyed national recognition for their work. Friesen told the audience that in just five more years this team will be able to build a beautiful home and offer low-cost financing annually – a noteworthy achievement for a group of their size. The current project is a duplex that will allow seven adults who have developmental disabilities to own a share in their own home. The units will have common areas along with individual spaces for the owners. Another innovative aspect of the project is that it will be an environmentally-friendly home using new technologies. The Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities also believes in this goal. Linda Manzon, chair of the foundation’s grants committee and a board director, was on hand to express support. “The citizens of the Boundary told us in our Vital Signs project, that two of the key issues in the Boundary were to develop affordable housing, and to try to close the gap between the rich and the poor. This project does both remarkably well,” Manzon congratulated. Neighbour of the soon-to-be seven-plex, Brian Asling, gave his testimonial as well. He lives in a Habitat home and considers it the most important asset for his family. “It’s amazing, without Habitat, I’d never have been able to afford a home for my four kids with the size we need,” he added. With the help of a friend Asling was drilling holes with an auger moments before and after the groundbreaking. Not only does he plan on installing a fence, but he’s planning improvements for the house he now owns. “This isn’t renting, I own my home. How many times can you say that in life? Every improvement I make to my home increases its value,” said Asling. He is indeed grateful of the opportunity given by Boundary Habitat. Mr. Asling has contributed more than his share of the 500 ‘sweat hours’ needed in order to take possession of the residence, but plans to keep on volunteering, “I’ll be out there. That seven-plex will have some of my sweat in it too.”
Watch the video of Rick Friesen of Habitat for Humanity Boundary for the list of community partners, what’s still to come, and a tremendous sustainable housing solution statement!