© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
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‚Äôs family selection committee, met with a room full of prospective homeowners at the Bernice Sayese Centre on Wednesday.
‚ÄúWe want to build homes for people who have a need ‚Äď who are living in substandard conditions,‚ÄĚ she told the group of people eager to better their living conditions.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs for low-income working families,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúPeople with small children, preferably.‚ÄĚ
Successful applicants are ‚Äúliving in a house much too small for them, with way too many people in a confined area, or of they‚Äôre in situations where things are falling apart,‚ÄĚ Dickson added.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre living with black mould in the house, or the windows are horrible and drafts are blowing in and making the curtains ‚Ä¶ move even though the windows are closed -- those are the kinds of situations we‚Äôre looking for.‚ÄĚ
Relaying the story of one applicant, Dickson said that their rental house had a hole in an outside wall.
‚ÄúBirds would fly into her house, and the solution from the landlord was to put some cardboard up and a little bit of insulation,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúHer heating bills were crazy high because of this kind of thing.‚ÄĚ
Applicants must make $52,000 per year or less as a cumulative family unit.
‚ÄúYou 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 ‚Ä¶ you need extra money,‚ÄĚ Dickson explained.
We want to build homes for people who have a need ‚Äď who are living in substandard conditions Cathy Dickson
What Habitat for Humanity is able to offer is an interest-free mortgage and a ‚Äúwell-built, well-insulated home with quality products and quality building materials.‚ÄĚ
The down payment is paid for through 500 hours of volunteer work.
‚ÄúMost 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,‚ÄĚ Dickson said. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre paying for diapers, you‚Äôre paying for food, and you just can‚Äôt save.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôt have to go back to square one should a family back out, she explained.
Wednesday‚Äôs 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.