Local groups, volunteers help build families’ dreams one house at a time
Sunday, April 27, 2003 - 11:00
The Sudbury Star
Later this summer Dan St. Jean of Sudbury will move his family into a new house in Azilda, a house built by the strength, good will and faith of a community that cares.
St. Jean, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1993 and now is confined to a walker, will partner with Habitat for Humanity, Sudbury District, to build what he calls a dream home for him and his family. Habitat for Humanity will organize the construction, including providing donated materials and volunteer labour to the project.
This 1,040-square-foot, three-bedroom home will be a joint partnership venture among the St. Jean family, local business, individual donors and volunteer workers. St. Jean’s family, the second Sudbury family to collaborate with Habitat for Humanity, will provide as much labour, or sweat equity, as they can, as well as an ongoing commitment to respect the community values the house represents.
The point of Habitat is that no one should be without suitable housing. A home is more than a shelter, and along with food and water is a staple of life that no one, and certainly no family, should go without. And yet many in Sudbury and Canada are unsuitably housed. The stairs to the entrance of St. Jean’s current home and a tiny washroom are every day challenges for him. St. Jean, and millions of Canada’s disabled and working poor, need housing that they simply cannot afford.
Habitat bridges the affordability gap, but it gives away nothing. What it offers, in the Christian tradition in which Habitat was born, is a helping hand up. With its strong Christian roots, Habitat is everything charity is supposed to be: caring, giving and disciplined:
n The partner family assists in the construction of their own home and those of other prospective Habitat for Humanity homeowners by contributing 500 hours of unpaid labour.
n Government money is never accepted for construction of new homes, renovation or repairs of existing dwellings, or general operating expenses.
n Partner families pay a monthly, no-interest mortgage for 20-25 years. Mortgage payments go right into financing the next homes that Habitat will build.
The Habitat for Humanity movement was founded in 1976 in Americus, Georgia. The program developed from the concept of “partnership housing” where those in need of adequate shelter work side by side with volunteers from all walks of life to build simple, decent houses.
In 1984 Habitat’s most famous volunteer, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, along with his wife, Rosalyn, participated in their first Habitat build project. Habitat for Humanity now spans over 80 countries and is responsible for placing over 110,000 families into new homes around the world. Habitat for Humanity will build more than 140 homes in Canada this summer, which includes a 40-townhouse project in Toronto.
In Sudbury, Habitat has partnered with Sudbury A-5 District Lions Club
and numerous local businesses and volunteers to make the St. Jean family’s
dream a reality. Contact Karen Armstrong at (705) 522-7217 to help out.
Copyright © 2003, The Sudbury Star