Habitat for Humanity helps Four Alberta Families

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Habitat for HumanityAssisting in this effort was Western Direct Insurance, which contributed a cheque of $5,000 to go toward the project as well as future endeavours.

Stephanie Rosch, HFHSA Marketing/Communications Specialist recently spoke about the Montgomery project specifically, what the relief organization does worldwide, as well as how Western Direct Insurance and HFH's relationship developed.

Q: How does Habitat For Humanity help those in need? How can families benefit?

A: Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta (HFHSA) is committed to helping low-income families caught in the vicious cycle of poverty. Our mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.

We believe every family deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home. Homeownership is about more than just building equity, as it can instill a family with a renewed sense of confidence and pride. Children have become happier and more outgoing, leading to improved grades and better health. Parents have used their newly discovered sense of accomplishment to return to school, learn a new trade, or upgrade their job skills. The impact is immediate and the effects are everlasting.

Many partner families are so moved and thankful for the opportunity to better their lives that they continue to contribute to their communities by helping others break free of the cycle of poverty. From becoming a partner family to the day they pay off their mortgage, Habitat partner families are given the support and guidance they need to ensure they succeed.

By supporting Habitat For Humanity you are not just providing for the bricks and mortar to build a house, you're giving Canadian families the hand up they need to build a better life.

Q: How did the partnership between Habitat For Humanity and Western Direct Insurance begin?

A: Western Direct Insurance, contacted the HFHSA office to inquire about participating in the Adopt-A-Day program.  The Adopt-A-Day program facilitates groups of up to 12 volunteers to participate in a team build on a construction site. Teams can make a huge difference in the lives of families in need by offering a 'hand up' rather than a 'hand out,' while strengthening bonds and learning new skills with peers or co‐workers.

Q: When an organization like Western Direct Insurance wants to partner with Habitat For Humanity, what does the process for getting involved typically entail?

A: Typically, HFHSA will meet with potential sponsors and discuss what their needs are, what they are looking to accomplish and what the needs are at Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta.  We work out a mutually beneficial agreement.  In the case of Western Direct Insurance in 2013, it was for the organization to participate in the Adopt-A-Day program, where the company 'adopts' a day for the employees to come on site and volunteer for the day.

Q: The Western Direct Insurance team helped build a house in the south end of Calgary - why was this area selected?

A: We typically select locations in well-established neighbourhoods like Montgomery that offer more support services and schools, as well as several options for public transportation.  Also our families come from different parts of the city, so by having homes in well-established areas, there is a greater likelihood that families won't have to relocate as far from family and friends. Land availability, cost and zoning all come into consideration when selecting an area.

Q: How many participants from HFH and WDI were involved in the building process?

A: On Nov. 2, there were 14 volunteers from Western Direct Insurance, five volunteer crew leaders, two HFH staff and two Habitat homeowners on the build site.

Q: How long will the project take to complete? What size will the home be when it was finished?

A: We anticipate that this project will be complete in the spring of 2014.  Each home will be approximately 1,100 square feet when complete.

Q: Were there any challenges during the organizing or building process?

A: Some of the challenges during the building process included building in inclement weather, which is always unpredictable, and finding an adequate number of volunteers to help build.

Q: What happens to a construction project after it has been completed by HFH and other organizations?

A: After the project has been completed, families sign mortgages and receive the keys to their new home. A housewarming dedication is held to thank all sponsors and supporters of the project.

Q: Are there plans for future collaboration between HFH and Western Direct Insurance?

A: Yes - We hope to partner with Western Direct Insurance again in 2014.