MLA spouses help P.A. Habitat for Humanity

Jodi Schellenberg
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Out in the hot sun, the spouses of Saskatchewan MLAs worked on the most recent Prince Albert Habitat for Humanity house.

The group of 14 was working on putting up house wrap to help protect the basement from water and digging trenches for plumbing to go into the basement.

Tami Wall, the premier’s wife, was one of the volunteers working on the house on Tuesday, her first build in Prince Albert.

“This is actually my fifth build that I’ve been on,” she said. “I sort of got involved with Habitat for Humanity quite a few years ago. My first build was in Saskatoon.”

She has worked on three in Regina and two in Saskatoon in addition to the Prince Albert house and thinks the idea behind the organization is amazing.

“Whether it is a women’s build or a regular build, it is the idea that it is a hand-up not a hand-out and so that is a big incentive for the person who is going to be getting the house,” Wall said. “You know that person has to work hard on the house as well. You find out a lot of information about it.”

The women chosen to get the house and her daughter were both helping MLA spouses.

“With the Habitat model, the family actually does a minimum of 500 hours of sweat equity,” said Duane Hayunga, board chair for the Prince Albert affiliate for Habitat for Humanity. “The family for this home that we are working on today completed their sweat equity last September and they are here today working on this project.

“I expect to see them work through the whole project, no different than anybody else that would build a home -- they would do part of the work themselves,” he added.

Wall said it was great to work beside the mother and daughter because they got to “see the people who are going to be getting the house in the end.”

“To me, I think it is a great way for people to have a hand in what they are doing and having in the end,” Wall said. “I think they appreciate it even more because they have been part of the process.”

Not only does the Habitat model help those getting the house, it can also help those volunteering.

“Today it is the MLA spouses, so it a great team building exercise for us,” she said. “We are out here doing something that is for someone else so you are giving back to your community, or a community. Some of the MLA spouses are from this area so that helps as well.”

This is the second build the MLA spouses have done in the province. Last year, Wall said they did one in Regina with those from the south.

“It is a great team building exercise -- it is also good for corporations or businesses,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you have five people or 100 people, it is a great way to get out and give back to your community, do some team building, have some fun and learn some skills that you can apply maybe at your own house and use tools and stuff.

“There are lots of benefits to it and I don’t see any downsides to it. It has been a great organization to be involved with.”

Although it may seem like they are receiving a lot of help, Hayunga said they could use more.

“I know they are short of volunteers and they are behind schedule because of how much rain they have had,” Wall said.

“We definitely could use more volunteers on this build and also on other projects that we are working on this summer,” Hayunga added.

Anyone interested in volunteering can check out the website to sign up either individually or as a team.

“I know people are on holidays, but if you have a group that is willing to come, it is a great way to involve and team build for your employees,” Wall said. “You would be surprised how many of them are willing to volunteer.”

They are looking for help with many different jobs, from construction to administration tasks.

“One job I’m looking for right now is a volunteer co-ordinator, someone to co-ordinate all the volunteers,” Hayunga said.

Since the Habitat build wouldn’t be possible without community support, Hayunga also mentioned how thankful he is for the support.

“That is what makes it possible for us to do these projects without having to pay all of the cost for the bill so we can keep those costs in line and put more families into homes.”

Organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Prince Albert

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Regina

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