Habitat for Humanity is building its second Campbell River home at 480 Hilchey Road.
The property, which is a few houses east of Penfield Road and Hilchey, was recently purchased by Habitat for Humanity and is unique to the non-profit.
“The lot on Hilchey is very narrow,” said Deb Roth, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North. “The property is zoned for a duplex but it’s very long and thin. It’s only about 50 feet wide.”
Roth said the habitat steering committee has been pitching ideas to get the community involved and is considering holding a contest among local engineers as to how the home should be designed.
Roth said she hopes to have signs up on the property July 22 advertising the site as the future home of a Habitat for Humanity house.
“It’s not really a ground breaking (because) it’s so difficult to engage volunteers over the summer so we’re probably going to push for a September launch,” Roth said.
As part of the launch, Habitat for Humanity plans to hold a public information session September 21 at 2 p.m. at the Campbell River Community Centre. Volunteers will be recruited and two families selected for the duplex. Roth said Habitat is aiming to start building in June, 2014.
Families selected to own a Habitat home contribute 500 hours of sweat equity toward the purchase of their home, meaning they help build the home, and in return are provided with affordable, interest-free loans with no down payment.
Monthly payments towards the loan are based on approximately 25 per cent to 30 per cent of gross monthly household income. Family selection criteria includes housing need, ability to pay a mortgage and willingness to partner with Habitat.
But before that can happen Habitat for Humanity needs to raise $200,000 to build both homes.
To kick off the fundraising campaign, Habitat has partnered with Wal-Mart which will be selling paper bricks for one week, from July 19-July 25.
Wal-Mart shoppers will be asked at the check-out if they would like to purchase a brick for the wall to help Habitat build the duplex.
Wal-Mart is also promoting Habitat’s Kids Crooked House fundraiser. The crooked house is a playhouse built by volunteers at the Campbell River Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The goal of this campaign is to raise $5,000 towards the Hilchey build through $5 donations. With each donation, the donor has the chance to win the playhouse through a draw that will take place once the $5,000 goal is reached.
Roth said that while Habitat is thrilled to finally be getting its second Campbell River build underway – the first was a duplex on Maple Street in 2009 – she is still waiting on the city to donate land.
Roth made a presentation to city council in late April and at that time Habitat was offered two pieces of property.
Habitat chose a piece of land on Westgate Road and a report from city staff will be in front of city council at Tuesday’s council meeting outlining how much the Development Cost Charges would be that Habitat wants the city to waive as well as what providing the land would entail and other possible costs to the city.
But above all, Roth is trying to drive home the point of how important it is for the city and Habitat for Humanity to work together to try and secure funding that is available for affordable housing.
Roth said that Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty committed $253 million for affordable housing each year for five years in the 2013 budget.
“I want them to understand there’s money available for our community but we can’t get it,” Roth said. “A non-profit can’t go after it but all of us together can work to draw money here.”