Time is both a friend and an enemy. 2017 has been racing along at mach speed and I can’t believe we are almost into July. Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North recently returned from Habitat Canada’s week-long National AGM in Kelowna. In addition to taking away knowledge and inspiration from Habitat Canada and other Canadian affiliates, we brought home two awards. I could not be more proud of our team and our accomplishments.
Our 477 Hilchey Road build in Campbell River is fully underway, and while we are still in need of additional volunteers to help bring it to completion, we are proud to be moving at a faster speed than we have ever moved before. Adding to our excitement is the 2017 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, in which 150 homes will be built across Canada to celebrate Canada’s 150th. We are honoured that one of our units is part of this initiative, and we want the whole community to join us in celebration. Come out to the Hilchey Road build site on July 13th for guest speakers, cake, entertainment, and the opportunity to meet our homeowners and tour their future home.
The pre-fabrication shop, led by volunteer Paul Ryniak, has exceeded our expectations in quality and quantity of wall production. It has allowed our build site team to build faster than we have in our past. Brian Woods, our new site supervisor, has teamed up with Lynnette Hornung, our new build volunteer coordinator, and under the direction of Peter Sanderson, they are doing amazing things on Hilchey Road. We will continue building into the fall as we hope to complete four homes in Campbell River this year. Kudos to the volunteers, volunteer manager Lorraine Holden, and the build team who continues to do amazing things in Campbell River.
Our amazing volunteers aren’t just found on the build site, but in our ReStores as well. In both communities, we continue to see a growth in volunteers helping us at the build as well as the ReStore and I am ever so thankful for our volunteers. Our two stores, one in Courtenay and one in Campbell River, have pulled out some great sales in the last couple months after a difficult start to the year with all the snow. Our ReStore staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to ensure a great customer experience for our donors and shoppers. They continue to create strong relationships to ensure large and small scale donations to fund the build through our ReStore sales. We have seen some innovative product this year and continue to build strong relationships with the community to ensure our donations keep on rolling.
In Courtenay, we are preparing for our 1330 Lake Trail Road build, which will eventually hold 10 homes. Our development permit submissions have been submitted and The City of Courtenay staff will soon be delivering on their recommendations. On May 29, we held our first community meeting to gauge support for the project, but we have already received letters of support from the Wachiay Friendship Centre, The Comox Valley Homeless Coalition, and S.D.P Holding Inc. (Michael Pitcher at Grains Bakery) and others who are all tremendous supporters of Habitat for Humanity. The development permit and rezoning process for this property was always estimated in the 6-8 month range of timeline so we continue to advocate for our submission and hope to be building on Lake Trail as soon as we are permitted.
We continue to advocate for funds, and we are pleased to announce a partnership with BC Housing. The whole of British Columbia Habitat for Humanity came together to ask for assistance in creating safe, secure, affordable housing and the province responded with two million dollars for our group of nine affiliates to share. Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North has received a grant of $200,000.00 to assist with our 477 Hilchey project. We are proud to partner and we are hoping to advocate long term with the Province of British Columbia for more sustainable funding in the future.
Also, considerable recognition goes to both municipalities of Campbell River and Courtenay as we have received grants in excess of $40,000.00 from each to build homes.
However, our fundraising work isn’t done. Between Lake Trail and Hilchey we will build 21 affordable homes for local families, which will require $4,000,000.00 to complete. Grants are wonderful, but it’s the ongoing support from everyday donors like you–members of the community who believe everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home–that truly makes a difference. Whether it’s an ongoing monthly donation that keeps our homeownership program sustainable, or a one-time donation of $150 to support the Carter Work Project campaign, your support means the world to our homeowners, their children, and the community. Consider donating, volunteering, or just spreading the word. We need your help as we continue our mission of giving families a hand up on Northern Vancouver Island.
Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North