In the first year after Habitat for Humanity’s reintroduction into Brandon, three homes have been announced, exceeding the board’s expectations.
“That’s pretty good, we’re quite pleased with that,” said local Habitat chairman Rick Wells.
Over the last year, Habitat for Humanity Manitoba's Brandon chapter announced one modular home build in partnership with Assiniboine Community College, another with the Green Acres Hutterite Colony outside Wawanesa, and a third traditionally built home.
Wells said he’d be open to similar partnerships in the future, but none are imminent.
“We’re hoping these partnerships that we’ve established will carry on for years and if others can be developed, we’d be open to that,” Wells said.
“We’re just proceeding ahead with whatever future plans we can develop to make sure we build as many homes as we can and get families into homes that need them.”
In 2012, after 17 years in operation, the HFH Brandon office was closed after the organization’s national office claimed the local affiliate didn’t meet operating standards.
With new standards in place, the chapter is part of Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, but maintains independence in terms of family selection, fundraising, volunteers, construction, trades and building crews.
“We have to represent Habitat with a great deal of integrity,” Wells said. “There are people that may have lost trust, or have been skeptical of Habitat because of what has gone on.
“Whatever we can do to re-enforce the trust in Habitat is what we’re going to do.”
Despite more oversight from the Winnipeg office, Wells said the board’s ability to make decisions locally isn’t hindered.
“There’s a reason Habitat Manitoba is the leader in this and that’s because of their reputation and because of their track record,” he said. “We’re simply operating under their auspices and trusting their wisdom.”
The Brandon affiliate is also looking for volunteers as it tries to expand.
“We’re a fully volunteer-based chapter, so we do not have any employees,” he said. “We’re certainly looking for more volunteers that can do administrative work, to work with the heads of the various subcommittees.”
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