Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Habitat for Humanity Fundraiser

Patty Parsons Habitat for Humanity Bala Build
There is a Muskoka fundraising event, on Tuesday, May 18th, at Moon River Lookout, to raise funds and an awareness of the most recent Habitat for Humanity Muskoka, Bala Build.

Sheila Overbeek is helping to organize The Patty Parsons Project. This project is in memory of her friend who died of a heart attack at age 42.

Ground-breaking is set for May 15th for the latest Muskoka Habitat for Humanity project in Bala.

The event take place at one the many great restaurants in Bala, 'Moon River Lookout'. Brian and I dined there for our anniversary!

They are planning on a silent auction at this event, and a jewelry sale, as well as refreshments and light snacks between 6:30 and 10:00 p.m.

Of course, if you'd like to give a donation to Habitat for Humanity Muskoka, just visit the website,
Or you can send your cheque, payable to Habitat for Humanity Muskoka to:

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!1964 Muskoka Beach Road
Gravenhurst, Ontario P1P 1R1

705 646-0106 Ext 5
or go to CanadaHelps.org

This event touches on an issue which concern me: myths of Muskoka housing.


Housing is a difficult issue in Muskoka. In the spring of 2009, vacancy rates for Muskoka were 2.8%. Industry standards say that 3% is considered a “healthy” vacancy rate. There are approximately 450 households waiting for rent-geared-to income housing in Muskoka. The Myths of Muskoka abound —not all are landed, rich and famous!

[IMG_6216.jpg]The Landlord and Tenant Board received 85 applications from Muskoka’s landlords for eviction in 2008. Over 400 households received assistance from The District Municipality of Muskoka’s Community Worker for Homelessness in 2008. In 2008, 60 households received assistance from The District Municipality of Muskoka’s Emergency Shelter Fund for over $60,000.

Many households in Muskoka earn less than poverty wages. In 2006, the median income for families in Muskoka was $61,159; which is 12% behind the Provincial average.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Habitat for Humanity Bala Build

Habitat Muskoka is proud to announce it latest build: in the small town of Bala.

The opening ceremony on May 15th, was attended by many representatives.

Ground Breaking ceremony with two partner families backed by members of the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity Muskoka, May 15, 2010.

Drummers, singers and a student minister from Wahta Reserve conducting a smudging and cleansing ceremony on the Habitat property in Bala, May 15, 2010.

The town is quite excited to begin preparations for the build, with committee meetings, and subcomittees being formed to prepare to serve coffee breaks and lunches to those offering their time and energy to the project.
The people are ready. The land is being prepared. Watch for more news and photos of this wonderful project.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Board of Directors 2010

Linda Acton-Riddle President
Barbara Robinson Treasurer
Rod Mundy Secretary
William Bell Site Acquisition
Martha Coburn Risk Management
Jayson Swain Member at Large
Paul Dempsey Faith Relations
Stan Hiseler Family Selection
Mary Jane Philp Public Relations
Jane Weiland Family Support
Paul Erb Member at Large
Sarah Lehman Volunteer Management
Rob Abbott Construction

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Qualifying For A Home

Please Note: We are not accepting applications from prospective homeowners at this time. Watch our web site for updates. Habitat for Humanity Muskoka will advertise in local papers when selections will begin for our next homes.
At Habitat for Humanity Muskoka, we:
• Invite applications from low-income families of any ethnic, social, religious background, or family structure.
• Build simple, decent, affordable homes with the partner families (who will purchase the Habitat home) through the cooperative efforts of the partner family, other volunteers, and professional trades people.
• Sell the Habitat houses with no-interest mortgages to the partner families.
How are Habitat partner families chosen?
There are 3 basic requirements:
1) The family’s present housing conditions are too expensive, inadequate, unhealthy, or unsafe.
2) The family’s willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity Muskoka by providing a minimum of 500 hours volunteer work with Habitat For Humanity Muskoka toward their Habitat home. Families agree to invest a minimum of 500 hours of sweat equity, all of which are to contributed prior to the purchase and move into the Habitat home. A minimum 250 hours must be completed on the construction of their home. Each family is permitted to designate family and friends to contribute their sweat equity hours. In addition individualized learning plans identified through the family support liason may also be considered as sweat equity hours.
3) The family’s total income must not be more than pre set amounts ranging from $29,946 ($2,496 monthly) for a family of two, to $59,893 ($4,991 monthly) for a family of six or more. It should be noted that other qualifying income may also include such things as room rental to non family members (rental income is considered to be part of the homeowner's family income).
Applicants must have a minimum monthly income sufficient to pay for an interest-free mortgage, taxes, and insurance with 30% of the income. The final cost of the home will depend on its appraised fair market value, a Cananda Revenue Agency requirement. Over time the homeowner’s equity in the home increases.
Please Note: In order to apply for consideration based on the above requirements, the family must be Canadian Citizens or Landed Immigrants and have been residents of Muskoka for at least the last 2 years. Any bankruptcy must have been discharged at least 2 years ago.
If you are interested in receiving additional information about applying for a Habitat for Humanity Muskoka home, please contact us by telephone or e-mail at address in link contact us. 705 646-0106 ext 6
We look forward to hearing from you, and will be happy to supply further details and answer any other questions you may have.
Please Note:  We are not accepting applications from prospective homeowners at this time. Watch our web site for updates. Habitat for Humanity Muskoka will advertise in local papers when selections will begin for our next homes.
Habitat for Humanity Muskoka
Building Homes Building Hope

Sunday, May 2, 2010

About Us

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 in the United States. It is a non-profit, faith-based housing program that seeks to eliminate poverty housing worldwide and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from a broad spectrum of social, ethic, religious and economic backgrounds to work in partnership to build homes and hope with families in need.

Habitat for Humanity has built more than 300,000 homes in over 100 countries around the world. A new home is dedicated worldwide every 10 minutes.

Habitat for Humanity Canada was founded in 1985, consists of over 50,000 volunteers and 72 affiliate organizations, and has dedicated nearly 2,000 homes from coast to coast since its inception.

Habitat for Humanity Muskoka was established as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity Canada in 2001. Our first home was built in 2003. Since 2003, eight homes have now been built by Habitat for Humanity Muskoka for families across Muskoka who may not otherwise be able to experience the joys and responsibilities of home ownership. Our ninth and tenth homes are being built in Bala this summer.

2. How Does Habitat Work?

Through volunteer labour, efficient management and donations of money and materials, Habitat homes are built and sold to partner families at no profit. They are financed with affordable, no interest mortgages, geared to the families' financial circumstances. Habitat for Humanity is not a give-away program. In addition to the mortgage payments, each homeowner contributes 500 hours of unpaid labour into the building of their home and other homes. This is called "Sweat Equity". Sweat equity increase pride of ownership and reduces Habitat's costs.

3. How Does a Habitat Project Get Started?

First, through finding a partner family, obtaining a suitable building lot, finding sponsors for the build, designing a home for the partner family, obtaining cash donations as well as donated building materials and services, recruiting volunteers and finally, building the home.

4. How is This A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out?

Habitat houses are sold to families, not given to them free of charge. In addition, families help to build their own home. By building homes at low cost, requiring very little or no downpayment, and not charging interest on the mortgage, Habitat for Humanity is able to provide an opportunity, or a "hand up", to buy a home for families that would not otherwise qualify for a conventional mortgage.

5. How are Habitat Projects Funded?

The cost of a typical Habitat home in Muskoka is about $65,000 including the cost of services and construction. If we must also purchase the lot, the cost can be substantially more. The funds to complete our building projects come from a number of sources. Mortgage income from our eight existing homes, profits from the ReStore operation, donations, income from fundraising events and financial support from major sponsors all go toward the construction of Habitat homes in our community. In addition, donations of materials and services, and volunteer labour are used to minimize the direct cost of construction.

6. How Does Habitat Relate to Government?

Habitat is a Registered Charity. We are not a government agency. However, Habitat does encourage participation with all levels of government to partner in the provision of land or existing houses for rehabilitation as long as the principles of Habitat for Humanity remain intact.

7. Who Controls and Manages Habitat for Humanity Canada?

The National Board of Directors determines and monitors operations. Board members are dedicated volunteers who are deeply concerned about the problems of poverty housing in Canada. The President and COO direct the National Office with an administrative staff, assisted by a core group of dedicated long-term and short-term volunteers.

8. How Does this Program Benefit the Families and Communities in the Long-Run?

Over time, a families' equity in their home increases. Habitat families also often see an improvement in their financial situation since the percentage of their income being spent on housing remains at 30%. Prior to purchasing a Habitat home many of these families are spending over 50% of their income on rent.

A safe, healthy living environment contributes to the positive growth and development of children. Habitat has recorded many examples of children within Habitat families becoming healthier, completing a post-secondary education and establishing successful careers.

Communities benefit as former renters become homeowners who contribute to the tax base. Habitat build projects also offer an opportunity for community members, of all walks of life, to come together and work side by side in a meaningful way.

As the poverty cycle is broken, and a family's financial situation improves, their dependence on local social services is decreased. In addition, pride of ownership leads to a renewed sense of confidence, and along with their stable, long-term housing arrangment, they become long-term contributors to the community and the local economy.

The three criteria to qualify for a Habitat home are:

1. need for affordable housing,
2. ability to repay a Habitat mortgage, and
3. willingness to partner with Habitat.

Need for affordable housing is defined by a family income that is below the government-set Low Income Cut-Off (poverty line) for their particular region, and existing living conditions that are inadequate in terms of structure, cost, safety or size. The ratio of shelter expense to total income is also factored.

Ability to repay a Habitat mortgage requires that the family has a stable income sufficient to cover the monthly mortgage payments and other expenses that come with home ownership.

Homeowners must demonstrate a willingness to partner with Habitat by contributing 500 hours of volunteer labor ("Sweat Equity") towards the building of their home.

9. What about Community Partnerships?

Habitat fulfills its mission by forming partnerships with individuals, churches, corporations, local businesses and service organizations across Muskoka.

10. How Can I Become a Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Muskoka?

General volunteer information is available on the Habitat for Humanity Muskoka web site. Habitat needs volunteers to work on build site, committees and at the Habitat ReStore.

Habitat for Humanity Muskoka - 705 646-0106 or

Email us at: info@habitatmuskoka.com

Website: www.habitatmuskoka.com

To travel to a location outside your community to help build, contact the local Canadian affiliate to see where they're building this year or contact Habitat for Humanity International's Global Village Program for a list of projects worldwide.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Contact Us — Habitat Muskoka

We want to build more simple, decent housing for families in our community
who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford them.

Can you help?

1964 Muskoka Beach Road
Gravenhurst, Ontario
P1P 1R1
705 646-0106
Email us at: info@habitatmuskoka.com

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.