Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region’s build in Wellesley is looking for volunteers to help complete the homes in time to get their families in before winter.
The semi-detached homes are the first the organization has undertaken in Wellesley Township. Organizers broke ground in April with the site seeing volunteers begin their build in June.
“We look for things that make it a community setting: it is easily accessible to things, because we don’t want people to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere. We want them to be close to amenities and stuff of that sorts, and Wellesley is a nice little town, it is an outstanding town,” said Debbie Hind, volunteer services assistant at Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, of their decision to take up the build in Wellesley.
The summer months yielded many enthusiastic volunteers for the project.
“In Wellesley it has been great. It has just been people around the town knew, everybody just knew – we have had a lot of local people volunteering, which has been lovely,” she said.
But since September rolled in, the organization has seen a dip in volunteers able to help with the build. It was not unexpected, with people getting back to work and school routines, but the timing was unfortunate for the build, said Hind.
“It just kind of dropped off, so we are looking at ways right now to encourage people to come out. Summertime is nice: the weather is nice, people have vacation time they can use. I think September, especially the beginning of September with school can be busy, but it has dropped off a little bit, so we are hoping to encourage people to come back out again,” she said, noting that their homes take longer to build and are at this time unsure of when it is going to finish. “It is dependent on the amount of volunteers they have; we are hoping before December.”
Habitat for Humanity homes are 98 per cent built with volunteer labour, with the team bringing in trade workers to do the plumbing and electrical.
Hind says they welcome volunteers from all backgrounds, skill levels and stages of life, over 16 years of age.
Build volunteerism can come from a few different sources, the first being an individual volunteer.
“We want our volunteers to have a really good experience,” she said. “We talk about building homes, helping to build communities and as a non-profit who is building homes for low income families we are trying to make it a community endeavour to help do this, so it’s the experience for the volunteers that we are offering.”
Alternatively, Hind says if you have a group in mind – whether that be neighbours, company employees or friends – there is the option to participate in a team build for the day.
“Teams pay to come, but it’s for a good cause,” she said noting that team rates are $2,500.
Hind explains that it is a great way to change a corporate businesses scenery, shifting employees tasks to work together and bond out of the office.
“And then they bring back good feelings to the company. They find that the staff tend to be more productive and they feel energised, and they feel positive about the company that they are working with. The team days are paid for – it is another way to donate as well.”
Although the homes are built based on volunteer efforts, those receiving the homes are required to also contribute a total of 250 volunteer hours each over the course of the build.
“When they are spending time on their house, they see their home being built, they are more likely to take care of it and take pride in it. And that is something that we encourage,” she explained.
Focused on providing a hand up and not a hand out, Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region has worked to built more than 100 homes for low-income families. For more information on volunteering opportunities visit www.habitatwr.ca.