Habitat a partner for six new homes in region

Red Deer and Olds will be among the communities to benefit from a $6-million provincial grant to build 67 Habitat for Humanity homes across Alberta.

Red Deer and Olds will be among the communities to benefit from a $6-million provincial grant to build 67 Habitat for Humanity homes across Alberta.

Red Deer is looking to build four or more Habitat homes this year and Olds plans to build two homes for low to moderate-income workers who otherwise couldn’t afford to buy their own home.

Homes will also be built in Brooks, Camrose, Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.

The $6 million is part of $309 million the province committed in 2008-09 to create more affordable housing.

“We’re grateful to be partnered with the province because they really are addressing a need in affordable housing and granting the money to Habitat is really a good option for them. That’s what we do. We build houses,” said Michelle Sluchinski, executive director with Habitat for Humanity Red Deer.

“We will use it towards as many as we can for our current build and it will help us plan for the future.”

Habitat for Humanity Red Deer is working on blueprints to build two duplexes, and possibly a third. Construction is expected to begin in a few months.

Habitat homes are built to a great extent by volunteers and are sold to families at 80 per cent of market value.

Habitat holds the mortgage, charges no interest and amoritizes the mortgage for as many years as necessary to ensure families only pay up to 30 per cent of their income for housing.

Alfred Nikolai, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Edmonton, said affordable housing is not just an Edmonton or Calgary issue. Housing in small communities can be expensive, with few options for many workers.

“They work every month. They get a paycheque every month. But they have a terrible choice to make every month. Do they take that paycheque to buy groceries or do they pay the rent?” Nikolai said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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