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Habitat For Humanity
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By Mike Toth



Habitat for Humanity is a non-denominational charity, which came to London in 1993 with the belief that everyone should have a decent place to live. In fact, Habitat believes that housing should be a basic human right, and they have worked in the years since to provide some of that housing. To date they have built 67 homes for families that cannot afford their own place.

Families that qualify for a Habitat home put in 500 hours of work (“sweat equity”) into the house, and are given a 0% interest/$0 down payment mortgage, which Habitat itself holds on to. The mortgage payment is based on a percentage of the family income which is evaluated yearly and can rise or fall with the changing family situation. The mortgage payments all go back into the build fund, which allows Habitat to build more homes.

During the Christmas season our thoughts will often turn to our blessings and other peoples’ lack. It is also a time in which many people consider their year-end charitable giving. If you find yourself in that spot during this time you need to know that there are many ways you can help out those who are less fortunate through Habitat for Humanity.

One innovative way to help is to sponsor a team day. You can register up to ten people to work for a day on the build site. No special skill is required and the Habitat crew will get you set up with safety equipment and training for the day. Often companies will sponsor their employees (the donation is $2,500) in what is a great team building exercise and a great way to see the tangible result of your donation.

Contractors and suppliers can become involved as well. Many are involved in donating new items (building supplies must be new on a new build house due to building codes) and donating skilled labour as well.

Traditional cash donations are vital to the sustainability of the organization, and 100% goes into the build fund. Those who wish to be involved can be through one-time gifts, monthly giving, or even planned giving.

While cash donations go to the build fund the Habitat ReStore provides funds for administrative costs such as salaries. The ReStore resells new and used donated household items at five locations in the Heartland Ontario area (located in St. Thomas, Stratford, Woodstock and two in London).

While Habitat is well known for the housing component they contribute to the community in other ways as well. Habitat hosts almost 700 volunteers a year, some at the build sites, but others in various roles through high school coops, through Youth Opportunities Unlimited, through the courts, and administrative placements.

An example of the exciting work going on at Habitat for Humanity is their Manor Park Project on Forbes Street in London. This ambitious project has seen Habitat purchase the land for 17 single-family homes. Five of those homes have already been completed, and six more are scheduled for 2017.

Habitat for Humanity has a proven track record of assisting those in need. To partner in their work you can get more information in the following ways:

To donate go to http://habitat4home.ca/donate/individual or call 519-455-6623 ext. 230.

To donate or purchase items from the ReStore you can go to http://habitat4home.ca/habitat-restore/restore-hours-locations for more information.

To volunteer go to http://habitat4home.ca/becoming-a-volunteer.