The Aspen West build site progress as of Oct.1. Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Red Deer

The Aspen West build site progress as of Oct.1. Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity Red Deer

Habitat for Humanity Red Deer is building four new homes in Blackfalds

The homes are already under construction and expected to be completed by August 2021

A partnership between Habitat for Humanity Canada and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will allow 414 new homes to be built across the country.

Four of these homes will be in the Town of Blackfalds in the Aspen Lakes West community which is located northwest of the downtown.

Construction on the two duplexes began in August 2020 and is expected to be finished by August 2021.

The newly announced federal donation will allow one duplex to be fully funded which will house two families. This will include a home that will be modified to be completely accessible.

Karen Vavrek CEO of Habitat for Humanity Red Deer said construction typically takes close to a year to complete.

“The reason why it takes a little bit longer is because we used a lot of community involvement such as volunteers or businesses who donate time or building materials,” said Vavrek.

The funding was announced on Nov.25 and though it was planned long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alberta the announcement comes at a time when housing is more important than ever.

“Having a stable home had become the first line of defence in the fight against COVID-19,” said Vavrek.

The funding is part of a $32.4 million partnership that will help families across Canada become homeowners. So far around $17.5 million has been invested in 50 projects that will help 178 families, including those in Blackfalds.

Habitat for Humanity Red Deer works by partnering with families who are in need of housing and are willing to volunteer their time and commit to owning a home. Some conditions that families must agree to before receiving a home include completing 500 volunteer hours per family and repaying an affordable mortgage that’s no more than 25 per cent of their gross family income.

“We don’t give away homes for free,” said Vavrek.

“Families very much have to make a commitment and work towards attaining affordable homeownership.”

The central Alberta organization has helped 38 families become homeowners in the past 25 years. They have already selected three of the four families who will move in to the homes next year.

This will be the first Habitat for Humanity build done in Blackfalds and the non-profit worked closely with the town and donors to make this project happen.

Construction was originally scheduled to begin in the spring of 2020 but was delayed until late summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, Habitat for Humanity does not expect any more delays because they have been largely unaffected by the public health restrictions.

“The only thing that might be impacted [by future restrictions] would be the extent that we can have group volunteers coming on and helping with the build,” said Vavrek.

As with most non-profits, they have lost valuable fundraising abilities and are always looking for donors and volunteers. Those interested can contact Varek directly at karen.vavrek@habitatreddeer.ca or reach out online.