Habitat planning another build

Habitat for Humanity is in the planning stages of building more homes for Campbell River families and is eyeing another build this fall.

Pat McKenna, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, asked city council recently about the availability of any city-owned land.

“We would like to ask council to consider donating further land to Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North,” McKenna said.

“Your land will satisfy requirements for more families in Campbell River realizing their dream of ownership.”

McKenna said Habitat can build homes accommodating two, four, six, eight or 10 families with property ranging from .15 of an acre (for a duplex) to one acre (10 families).

McKenna said receiving land donations from the communities Habitat serves allows the non-profit to reach its goal of eliminating poverty.

Habitat has previously built a duplex on city-donated land on Maple Street and is in the process of constructing a duplex on property donated by the city on the corner of Dalton and Westgate roads.

Habitat also completed a duplex on Hilchey Road last year.

The homes provide affordable housing to those who would typically not qualify for, or be able to afford, a conventional mortgage.

The homes come with a mortgage that is based on 30 per cent of the family’s income but the mortgage is interest free. Homeowners must also put in 500 hours of sweat equity, which typically involves helping to build their home.

To be eligible for a home, families must have at least one child under the age of 18, and have a regular income that is not Employment Insurance or Income Assistance.

McKenna told city council in February that finding families in Campbell River to fill the homes has not been a problem.

He said when Habitat set out to find two families for the current Dalton build, they found eight which means six are now on a waiting list.

McKenna told council earlier this month that Habitat hopes to undertake another build this year to help as many more families as possible, but it needs the city’s help.

“We would ask that the City of Campbell River assist us in our goal by directing staff to identify any opportunities for acquisition/donation of city land immediately and in the future and continue to support our hard construction costs through concessions to development levies,” McKenna said.

“If land was to be identified and available, we would hope to look at our next build for the fall of 2016.”

City council, in considering McKenna’s request, directed city staff at its last council meeting (March 21) to report back with a list of potential properties the city could donate.