Red Deer Habitat for Humanity part of Jimmy Carter project

Goal is for 150 new Habitat homes during Canada’s sesquicentennial

Habitat for Humanity in Red Deer is participating in a 2017 project tied to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter’s visit to Alberta later this year.

Brian Brake, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region Society, said four homes under construction in Lacombe are now part of the Carter Work Project.

Habitat for Humanity builds affordable housing for low-income working families. Over the years 29 homes have been built in Central Alberta — 22 in Red Deer, two in Delburne, one in Three Hills, and four in Lacombe. This year’s project will bring Lacombe up to a total of eight units.

Every year, Habitat International selects one of the 60 countries the non-profit organization is located in for the annual Carter Work Project, endorsed by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. Canada was chosen in 2017 because of its 150th birthday. The Carters will be coming to Edmonton in July to celebrate the event, said Brake.

It’s hoped that a minimum of 150 new Habitat homes will be constructed in Canada this year. Of the 56 affiliates in Canada, the Red Deer region applied successfully to have its current build in Lacombe accepted as part of the Carter project, he said.

The Carters will arrive in Edmonton on July 10. They will spend a couple of days at the largest 2017 Habitat build in Canada — 58, Brake said.

The local Habitat group will have its own ceremony on July 10 and hopes to connect from Lacombe online live with the Carters in Edmonton. “We thought we would take our project to them, and so they can see the wonderful job and meet the Habitat families that we’re dealing with here.”

Overall, six new families — four in Lacombe and two in Red Deer — moved into Habitat homes in 2016. Two families moved out of homes, making them available to a family waiting.

Every five or six years on average, the people who become Habitat owners decide for different reasons to move, Brake said. In Red Deer there are 160 families, representing about 500 people, waiting for a Habitat home.

Also this year the local Habitat group will host a group of volunteers — cancer survivors, ages 14 to 18 years old from Calgary — in March. They will work on the Lacombe project while they stay at a Red Deer hotel. Brake said he would be happy to hear from anyone interested in showing the group some Red Deer hospitality to make their stay even more memorable.

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