Five Grande Prairie families could soon have a new place to call home. A representative from Habitat for Humanity spoke to city council members on Tuesday to see about getting land for a future project. Habitat for Humanity Edmonton President and CEO Karen Stone says that’s always the first step.
“We start out by going to the municipal government and we usually try and acquire land for free… Sometimes governments at the municipal level can’t give us land for free but they might be able to help us to access grants or they might be able to enable us to access land that they hold. Once we’ve got that land what we can do is then start fundraising.”
Habitat for Humanity was originally created to build affordable housing for low-income families. Stone says they have been in talks with donors in the city in hopes that they can build five new homes. Once they are built, Stone says there is a specific set of criteria families have to meet in order to become homeowners.
“We look at families who earn between $35,000 and $65,000 in household income. They have to have at least one child under the age of 18, they have to have at least one adult in the family who has been in employment longer than a year and they have to be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.”
Once the families are selected they will pay the mortgage, insurance and any taxes on their new home. If these five new homes are built, they will join the eight other properties built by Habitat currently in Grande Prairie. Stone says research shows that lives changes when people move in.
“What we find is once we select the family… the children end up approaching their education from a completely different perspective, they, in fact, go on to conclude tertiary education, many of them get on to honour roll. The outcomes for social determinants of health and the educational outcomes for these families is completely transformative.”
The city will need to make a decision on the land before any more work can be done on the project. If everything goes well, Stone says they could start getting their permits together in the summer.