BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Assiniboine Community College president Mark Frison, left, and Habitat for Humanity Manitoba CEO Sandy Hopkins shake hands after signing a memorandum of understanding at the Len Evans Centre for Trades and Technology at ACC’s North Hill Campus on Thursday.
Assiniboine Community College students will be a part of rebuilding Habitat for Humanity’s presence in Brandon.
ACC and the newly formed Brandon chapter of the Manitoba non-profit organization signed an agreement during a presentation at the school’s North Hill campus on Thursday morning, announcing students will build a ready-to-move home on campus with construction beginning in the fall.
The partnership — signed by ACC president Mark Frison, local Habitat chairman Rick Wells and Habitat for Humanity Manitoba CEO Sandy Hopkins — marks one of two inaugural projects for the new chapter.
But this type of project is nothing new for the college. At its Dauphin campus, students have been building RTMs for years.
"It’s just a matter of reshaping the curriculum," Frison said.
"It’s going to strengthen Manitoba, certainly strengthen Brandon. Housing is a big issue here and if we want to continue to build our economy, we certainly need more housing stock."
Students from the carpentry and woodworking, plumbing, and electrical programs will build the home with the hope of having it ready in 2015 to move to a Percy Street lot with materials supplied by Habitat.
"They (students) will be able to contribute in a very significant way to provide a life-transforming experience for a family right here," Wells said.
Along with the project with ACC, Habitat will build another home to also be completed in 2015 with the traditional means of volunteers and paid tradespeople.
Like all Habitat projects, families will still have to put in "sweat equity," but in the case of the ACC student-built RTM, family members don’t have to work side-by-side with students and have the option to do other approved work within the community.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing Habitat for Humanity back into the great city of Brandon," Hopkins said at the beginning of his speech.
This marks the first project since Habitat for Humanity Brandon folded — the first Canadian regional affiliate to do so in the organization.
With new standards in place, the new chapter is part of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, but will maintain independence in terms of family selection, fundraising, volunteers, construction, trades and building crews.
"While Habitat Brandon is a chapter of Habitat Manitoba, its ability to succeed is driven almost entirely by the energy and the ability of the people who are working with us here in Brandon," Hopkins said.
"Over the next number of years, we’re going to demonstrate the way Habitat is supposed to operate and get the people on the ground to do that with resources at the provincial level to ensure that happens."
Wells said the 14 families cheated out of Habitat homes at Massey Manor in 2012 — as a result of the Brandon affiliate closing its doors — will be able to reapply and their sweat equity will be acknowledged by the selection committee.
"All of the families that were in the process have the opportunity to reapply within the system," he said.
The two new homes, marking Habitat’s reintroduction into Brandon, are expected to be move-in ready sometime in 2015.
Habitat homes generally range in size between 800-1,200 square feet.
Habitat is a non-profit organization that builds homes for working poor, who assume the mortgage with no down payment.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 28, 2014