Requirements point out who Habitat for Humanity helps

Tyler Clarke
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Habitat for Humanity Prince Albert family selection committee chair Cathy Dickson speaks at the Bernice Sayese Centre on Wednesday, during which she outlined the guidelines for prospective homeowners. 

Through outlining the requirements for prospective Habitat for Humanity homeowners, Cathy Dickson pointed out who the organization helps.


Dickson, who serves as chair of the organization’s family selection committee, met with a room full of prospective homeowners at the Bernice Sayese Centre on Wednesday.

“We want to build homes for people who have a need – who are living in substandard conditions,” she told the group of people eager to better their living conditions.

“It’s for low-income working families,” she said. “People with small children, preferably.”

Successful applicants are “living in a house much too small for them, with way too many people in a confined area, or of they’re in situations where things are falling apart,” Dickson added.

“They’re living with black mould in the house, or the windows are horrible and drafts are blowing in and making the curtains … move even though the windows are closed -- those are the kinds of situations we’re looking for.”

Relaying the story of one applicant, Dickson said that their rental house had a hole in an outside wall.

“Birds would fly into her house, and the solution from the landlord was to put some cardboard up and a little bit of insulation,” she said. “Her heating bills were crazy high because of this kind of thing.”

Applicants must make $52,000 per year or less as a cumulative family unit.

“You still have to make enough money to be able to pay the mortgage, pay your utilities, have some money to set aside so you can budget for if your eavestroughes need changing or fixing 10 years down the road … you need extra money,” Dickson explained.

We want to build homes for people who have a need – who are living in substandard conditions Cathy Dickson

What Habitat for Humanity is able to offer is an interest-free mortgage and a “well-built, well-insulated home with quality products and quality building materials.”

The down payment is paid for through 500 hours of volunteer work.

“Most of the time, people who make $52,000 a year or less as a family -- that makes it extremely difficult to save that much money to put down for a down payment,” Dickson said. “You’re paying for diapers, you’re paying for food, and you just can’t save.”

Noting a room full of prospective applicants, Dickson said that their stringent application process is meant to whittle the group down to those most in need.

This year, Habitat for Humanity will build four homes, she said after her presentation, for which the family selection committee will choose six families. 

Extra families are always approved so they don’t have to go back to square one should a family back out, she explained.

Wednesday’s meeting is an annual effort to communicate Habitat for Humanity guidelines, organization president Morris Sawchuk explained, noting that it makes things easier for the selection committee, who in past years have had a group as large as 60 families to choose from.

Organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Bernice Sayese Centre

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