Habitat for Humanity needs help on their build sites.
Recognizing that affordable housing is out of reach for many North Island families, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (VIN) has made ambitious plans to build nine homes in Campbell River and 10 in the Comox Valley over the next three years. Construction of the next eight homes in these two multi-phased projects are now underway and Habitat is asking the community to please step up to put on hard hats, pick up hammers, and help build a brighter future for local families.
“Our call for volunteers is urgent because this is the first time in our 14-year history that we are building simultaneously in two communities, as well as operating a prefabrication shop in Campbell River where they pre-build the walls and stairs for all of our homes,” says Terri Perrin, Habitat VIN’s community engagement manager. “To ensure that these homes are affordable, the majority of the work is done by volunteers, under the guidance of a staff project manager and supervisors, along with experienced volunteer team leaders. We also utilize volunteers in both of our ReStores which is important because profits from the ReStores help fund the construction of homes.”
“In the past, in order to fulfill volunteer requirements, we had the option of transporting volunteers from the Comox Valley to Campbell River (and vice versa) on our Builder Bus,” adds Perrin. “Now, with two projects on the go, we need to find sufficient volunteer resources in each community, so we are asking for the public’s help. The demand for volunteers is urgent, especially in Campbell River.”
Perrin stresses that both skilled and unskilled volunteer labour is required and there are several different volunteer roles that do not require physical labour. Both individuals and groups may sign up. Even if you have never picked up a tool in your life, all you really need is a willingness to work and a desire to help make a difference in your community. And what a difference a day of your time can make!
Once these next 19 homes are completed, it will bring the total number of homes built by Habitat VIN to 39. In addition, when four previous Habitat homeowners recognized improved financial situations, Habitat was able to purchase the homes back and sell them to new homeowner families, bringing the total number of families served by 2020 to 43, with close to 100 children.
“Even if you do not know anything about construction, you are welcome to come and help,” says Perrin. “You will learn new skills, make friends, and even get to meet our future homeowners. We welcome anyone age 16+ to register on our website where they are able to self-schedule themselves to come and help as often as they are able. While it is best if our build volunteers can wear their own steel-toed safety boots, we do have loaner boots available, and we supply all of the other necessary Personal Protection Equipment and tools. We also provide free snacks and lunch, courtesy of local businesses and faith groups.You’ll find a FAQ section on our website to answer further questions.”
Volunteering with Habitat is a great way for people of all ages to learn new skills, but is especially beneficial for youth, who want to build their resumes and gain valuable job experience, and seniors who want to feel engaged with their community. Habitat is also encouraging women to help build community with their Women Build campaign in the Comox Valley.
The Campbell River Habitat build is located at 477 Hilchey Road and they are currently building Tuesdays through Saturdays. The Campbell River prefab shop, at 1790C Tamarac Road, has a varied construction schedule. The development at 1330 Lake Trail Road, Courtenay is currently active Monday through Friday, however, Saturdays will open up in the near future, once site development is completed. All build projects start at 8:30 a.m. and wrap up by 3:30 p.m. Opportunities at the ReStore are available Monday through Saturday and shifts are generally four hours.