Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sweat Equity Builds 40 New Ontario Homes

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 31 August 2004 00:00

As Canadians say good bye to summer and return to school and work, "What did you do with your summer vacation?" will be a common topic of conversation.

For some Ontarians, their favourite holiday story may include the role they played in building 40 new homes for Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Toronto.

Habitat for Humanity, an independent, charitable housing program, fights to eliminate poor quality housing by building homes for families in need. One key to their growing success is the volunteer construction activity that involves recipient families creating "sweat equity." HFH also provides interest-free mortgages to families who otherwise would not be able to purchase their own home. Habitat relies on volunteer labour, donated or cost-reduced material and financial support from individuals, corporations, service groups and the faith community. Mortgage payments from current homeowners also help fund future projects.

Between June 26 and July 18, 2004, wall and floor components, which had been pre-assembled during the summer of 2003, were moved to the Toronto building site where about 100 enthusiastic volunteers began construction on the largest HFH build in Canada.

A home built for and by the five-member Jama Family is part of the McLevin Woods Habitat for Humanity project which started last summer in an 11-day building blitz when many of the components were built in Habitat's Toronto "house factory." Within the first month of volunteering, the Jamas had worked 200 hours and are eager to work with Habitat in future projects.

"I am thankful for those who made my dream come true," said Mohamud Jama who immigrated from Somalia in 1989 and dreamt that he would be a homeowner one day. "I feel that having our own home will provide my family with a positive and settled future, as well as making us feel 100 per cent Canadian."

Later this year, the Jama family will receive keys to their new home, which they helped build with the required 500 hours of "sweat equity." Work on the 40 homes continued through the summer and will proceed this fall towards project completion in 2005.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), our federal housing agency and a committed HFH sponsor, is equally dedicated to ensuring sponsored families understand how to maintain their new homes. A recently-developed homeowners' training program will be offered to the 40 families receiving homes in the Toronto build, along with free copies of the CMHC Homeowner's Manual.

Who Qualifies for a Habitat Home?

Habitat is open to people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. For instance, qualification through Habitat for Humanity Toronto is based on "the reality of the need of the applicant" using criteria that evaluate need according to the following:

  1. Candidates must be living in unsafe/unhealthy conditions or their rent must be extremely high relative to their income.

  2. They must be willing to contribute "sweat equity," that is to volunteer 500 hours towards construction of their house and other Habitat projects.

  3. Candidates must be legal residents of Canada for at least three years.

  4. They must have a job and have been working consistently for three years in Canada.

  5. Candidates must be able to afford a mortgage and not already have an overwhelming amount of debt. The entire family's employment income and/or long term disability (ODSP) income must fall with in a specified range.

Consider adding Habitat for Humanity activities to your next holiday or family activity. Whether you're a skilled worker, a willing youth, a business or a place of worship, there are ways for you to get involved by giving time, money or resources: volunteer at a build, join a chapter, shop at HFH ReStores ... a donation of $25 buys a 50-pound box of nails, $50 buys an interior door.

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