Campbell River steps up to the plate for Habitat for Humanity

The city announced recently that it will donate a piece of property on Westgate Road

Within two years, Habitat for Humanity could triple its output of homes for vulnerable Campbell River families.

The city announced recently that it will donate a piece of property on Westgate Road to Habitat for Humanity.

Deb Roth, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, said the property will likely be used to build a duplex which will house two local families.

Roth said she is “so impressed” with Campbell River council for stepping up to the plate.

“As a non-profit we are not surprised by empty promises of support from well-meaning folks that never come to fruition,” Roth said. “That makes this announcement even more significant. Mayor Jakeway and Campbell River city council have shown that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.”

The property at 129 Westgate Road is valued at $95,200 and the city has also agreed to take $33,000 out of council’s contingency budget to cover fees and charges associated with the project such as re-zoning, development and legal costs.

The homes, which Roth said are likely to be built in 2016, will be the third housing project for Habitat for Humanity in Campbell River.

A duplex on Maple Street was built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers after the city donated the land, then valued at $60,000, in 2007. And a second build is currently in the works for Hilchey Road.

Habitat for Humanity purchased the Hilchey lot last year and is in the midst of fundraising for the build and carrying out recruitment campaigns for volunteers to build the duplex and for families to live in the homes.

“The Family Selection Team has started to process homeowner applications,” Roth said. “They will continue accepting applications throughout March and April if needed. Each family must contribute 500 hours of volunteer labour to the organization, including at least 100 hours helping to build their own home.”

The homes are a hand up, not a hand out – the homeowners do pay a mortgage, based on 30 per cent of the family’s income, but the mortgage is interest free.

Roth said those mortgage payments are used to build more Habitat homes in the community.

“The mortgage payments that the new homeowners make are re-invested in the building of more homes,” Roth said. “Once we have between 12 and 14 mortgages in a community, the accumulation of mortgage payments will fund the building of one home a year.”

Habitat also raises money for its builds through sales of building supplies and household items at the ReStore on Willow Street.

Habitat for Humanity is encouraging families to apply now for the Hilchey homes. Applications, as well as family criteria packages, are available at the Campbell River ReStore (1725 B Willow Street) near Chevron in Campbellton.

To be eligible for a home, families must have at least one child under the age of 18, be willing to put in 500 hours of sweat equity or volunteer and have a regular income that is not Employment Insurance or Income Assistance.