Habitat for Humanity will be hosting a public information meeting on April 7 regarding affordable housing in Portage la Prairie.
Family Selection Committee Chair Norman Collier says they will be reviewing homeownership qualifications, as well as Habitat for Humanity’s calendar of events in the near future.
“You don’t need to call,” Collier notes. “Anyone can attend if they want more information and if they want to discuss whether or not they qualify. If they have any questions about the homeownership process for Habitat for Humanity, please can certainly come.”
He notes that they have built 11 houses in Portage so far and plan to add two more for families in need of accommodation. He says people who attend the meeting can pick up an application, and then Habitat for Humanity will choose who to interview.
“The actual houses won’t be built until the fall and through the winter,” says Collier. “Families will hopefully move in next spring or summer.”
President Betty-Jean Checkley says they are excited to get back to work building homes during these trying times.
“So many people are totally shut out of the market,” Checkley says. “It’s with inflation and the cost of everything, so it’s really hard for single parents and the working poor, and it’s a way for people to become owners. We’re giving them a hand, not a handout, and they have to do their sweat equity, which is 500 hours of community work. And that was 95% impossible in the time of COVID. People couldn’t go out into the community, and the qualified people didn’t want to expose themselves and take it into their workplace.”
Checkley explains that many workplaces across the city have been closed, making it quite a challenge for families to engage in sweat equity.
“So we were really regrouping, resting, rebuilding, and looking at different ways to get start-up funds so we could restart,” Checkley continues. “We had a lot and were hoping to build a duplex there, but our site managers felt that was not the best solution for this type of construction. It just wouldn’t have enough space in the yard or for two families, so we ended up buying two separate lots.”
She notes that it will be a double build, adding that they have done it before while situating them closer.
“It’s not quite side by side,” Checkley adds. “We haven’t been able to do the work that we love to do, and we know how important that is in our community. It’s a struggle here for a lot of young families to be able to afford a home. .”
Checkley says the last family of four to move in was on October 26, 2019.