By Christmas, two families will have moved into a new home thanks to Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North.
Kimberley Woodcock, habitat’s CEO, was one of many on hand to break ground at 1016 Elm St. in Bala, the site of the two new affordable, energy-efficient homes.
“I feel proud of Muskoka Lakes,” she says. “The community has really come together to do this for local families.”
Mick Janke, Director of Construction for habitat, says the semi-detached home will be roughly 850 sq. ft. and will have universally accessible features throughout. He explains the building’s efficiency will be about 25-percent above what’s required in the building code. “Because of the footprint and size and the style of construction it consumes every little energy to operate it,” Janke says.
He expects the building to be done, pending “finishing touches,” by the fall.
“It’s rewarding,” Janke says. “It’s challenging. It’s the full gambit of everything.”
Having worked with habitat for four years, Janke says he’s proud to be directly involved in positively impacting families. “I’m getting a little long in the tooth,” he adds. “I don’t need to be as competitive as I was in the past as a builder, so I thought it was a good time to give back.”
Woodcock says over $450,000 has been raised between community donations and funds given to habitat by the provincial government.
She adds they are working with businesses in the area to provide supply donations. Woodcock says Muskoka Window and Door will be providing a full window and door package, while New Start Kitchens will cover 75-percent of materials needed and Sift Electric will give habitat a 40-percent discount on all services. Woodcock adds they are in talks with other businesses, but they haven’t been confirmed as of the groundbreaking ceremony.
“I am overwhelmed at how many open doors there are,” Woodcock says.
Heather Scott, a realtor with Forest Hill Real Estate, has personally helped raised thousands of dollars for the build. She was on hand for the groundbreaking. “We really wouldn’t be here without the support of the community,” she says. Scott noted that she grew up at 1009 Elm St., which is down the street from where the new home will be.
“We truly never say thank you enough,” she says of the community.
Woodcock echos Scott’s thanks. She says to understand the difficulty people who don’t have stable, affordable housing are going through, you have to put yourself in their shoes. “Were families who are truly underhoused and not safe and worried constantly about how to get to the next week, it’s just impossible for them to give back to the community and be positive, active members of the community,” she says. “But we know when they have safe, stable, affordable housing, that’s what they do.”
The application process for families interested in living in the homes has been open since April.