Swinging hammers for affordable housing

July 25, 2012 - Local politicians donned hard helmets to help erect a new Habitat for Humanity house in Saskatoon on July 25. The build location was a hive of activity as Saskatoon Eastview MLA Corey Tochor and Ward 7 city councilor Mairin Loewen hammered nails at Habitat’s 15th project of 2012.

The provincial government kicked in $100,000 for the Habitat house and the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve will contribute 10 per cent of building costs. Delta Hotels and Resorts also donated $75,000. The property was purchased by Habitat for $82,000

“It’s great to have the municipal government, provincial government and corporate community in Saskatoon involved in helping affordable housing,” said Habitat’s executive director Barb Cox-Lloyd.

Councilor Loewen enjoyed the project’s labour.

“It’s really fantastic that the city can be involved. This is a treat. It’s nice to contribute some labour.”

A hand-up, not a handout

To be eligible for a Habitat house and no-interest loan, a family must provide 500 hours of “sweat equity,” meaning they contribute volunteer hours to work on a build, or at Habitat’s Restore or office.

“After my husband graduated, we looked into buying a house…It would take us many years to save up the down payment. We were paying off our student loans and raising two children. Buying a home felt financially stressful,” said Tanya Bargen, who received a Habitat home in 2008.

“Habitat offers a unique experience for people to invest into other peoples’ lives, which I believe creates a stronger community,” she added.

(c) 2012 Metro News