A COMMUNITY FOR ALL

BY RACHELLE WATERMAN & CHRIS TIESSEN

Imagine cooking up an inclusive, affordable community. If there were a recipe, the ingredients and method would be simple: begin with community support and leadership, add a splash of partnerships, mix in donations from individuals, blend in some leveraging, then bake on high. In real life, the ingredients are the same, but miss a step and the results may vary.

It’s this recipe that Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph uses to achieve their vision of a world where everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. With 24 builds under their toolbelt, the local non-profit is now working on 30 more homes in Guelph, in a development called Cityview Village. This new multi-unit development – the first of its kind for Habitat WDG – will provide homes to single- and dual-parent families, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. Normally the organization builds one home a year, but as house prices continue to climb, so does the need for affordable homes as more and more people are priced out of the market.

‘One part of our mission is to mobilize all parts of the community to build affordable housing,’ Steve Howard, CEO of Habitat WDG, explains. ‘This is the part of Habitat that most people associate us with, but it’s another part of our mission that creates a lasting impact on our community. We build homes to provide a hand-up into home ownership, creating a platform for equity accumulation, which is what enables the cycle of poverty to be broken.’

Equity accumulation is not a term heard very often in the affordable housing debate, but it’s this piece of their mission that Habitat WDG is striving to make known: affordable homes are a foundation for both personal and financial growth.

The faces of Habitat WDG

(clockwise from top left)

Rachelle Waterman – Marketing & PR

Adam Thompson – Board Member

Rebecca McEnvoy – Planning

Marc Petitpas – Board Member

Amber Wood – Programs & Policy

So how does a charity provide this growth to an entire community? By involving the community, of course.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but Habitat WDG has a different motto: It takes a community to build a village. Community support is paramount to what Habitat does: community leadership is needed to bring the affordable housing crisis to the forefront, and then to support it through policy and action; partnerships with corporations and collaboration with non-profits provide funding, advocacy and additional expertise; donations from individuals fund ongoing costs; and leveraging and scale enable the organization to continue to build more.

Habitat reinvests all the funds they receive into affordable housing – more of it. A dollar turns into four dollars; a home turns into four homes.

Of course, the recipe for building an inclusive and affordable community can always use more ingredients. The most important of these? You.

Visit habitatwdg.ca to learn how you can help.

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