Habitat pushes through building blocks

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Linda Dumaresque stands on the site of a future Habitat for Humanity home. The organization opted for pre-fabricated homes due to the economic climate and lack of resources in the area.

Habitat for Humanity is pushing through any setbacks and still plans to have two homes built for families by the end of the year.

Two plots of land have been identified in Harrie Lake subdivision in Labrador City, but more work needs to be done before foundations can be set.

Linda Dumaresque, councilor for Labrador City, volunteer coordinator and build manager for Habitat, said pre-fabricated builds have been chosen, due to the work environment.

“Labour is very short in this region, so the modular build was less labour-intensive and we won’t need as many resources to help us with the processes,” she said.

Dumaresque said both towns were looked at before it was decided the homes could be accommodated in Labrador City, and a couple plots have been found suitable for them.

“We’re waiting for the dimensions and plot plans. There’s a little bit of a challenge with one of them that needs remedial work, but that comes with the territory. There are some legal challenges, but that’s for the higher-ups to figure out,” she added.

 Families still need to be chosen before homes can be selected, and Dumaresque said it’s been one of the biggest challenges.

“The selection committee has been trying to get here for the past month. But because they need to come in here for several days it’s been a challenge with the zero vacancy.”

An outside committee from a Newfoundland and Labrador chapter chooses the applicants for Habitat for Humanity homes.

Potential homeowners must be a resident of the area for at least 12 months and an accountant, to make sure they are able to pay off their mortgage, reviews their financial records.

So far Dumaresque said she’s surprised with the number of applications.

“We expected more, but having said that there’s only two that can be selected. We were looking at a third depending on the budget, but we can get two families in homes so that’s still a big success.”

The selection of families is key before selecting the homes because the size of the family determines the layout.

Habitat homes are usually built as a “stick” build, with the home built from the ground up. This builds the sense of community and gives the homeowners a better opportunity with earning their sweat equity required hours worked earned by the homeowners and children over 16 through volunteer work alongside other non-profit organizations.

However pre-fabricated homes have been chosen by the organization in the past, and may opt for more in rural areas in the future.

Although significantly less labor is required, Dumaresque says there are still many areas requiring help, including painting, plastering, landscaping, electrical, and plumbing. But you don’t need to be a tradesperson to lend a hand.

“If anyone has a green thumb, come out, plant a few trees. You don’t need to know how to hammer a nail; we have people that can teach you. I learned how to put in my first window last year, and that was phenomenal,” said Dumaresque.

Skilled laborers can use their time as tax donations, by writing an invoice to Habitat with what it would have cost if Habitat hired them, and they will receive a receipt as a donation for that amount.

Build manager Lester Murphy is taking care of a lot of the coordination with the sites with the contractors and local businesses, as well as building the skirting to fit around the mobile homes.

A local business has agreed to order the mobile homes at cost, receiving no profit from them. It can take six to eight weeks for a home to arrive once it’s ordered, but work like laying the foundation can be done within that time.



Organizations: Habitat for Humanity

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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