Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Brandon chapter of Habitat for Humanity has a new steering committee, a new chairman and an ambitious new building plan.
In a presentation to Brandon City Council on Monday, newly installed chairman Rick Wells said the re-established local chapter has a goal of building two homes per year, starting next year.
During his presentation, Wells said the group is in the process of developing a business plan, a strategy for land acquisition, developing community partnerships and finding a new location for a ReStore.
“As a group, we are eager to re-establish the presence of Habitat in Brandon and get on with ... building cost-effective, affordable housing,” Wells said.
Although one home would be build in the traditional method — bringing out community volunteers to complete the goal, which is part and parcel of the Habitat for Humanity model — the new Brandon Habitat has changed that model somewhat when it comes to the second home.
The revamped chapter has already made overtures with the Assiniboine Community College to create a partnership that would see ACC incorporate a ready-to-move build each year as part of their trades curriculum.
We can only assume that, even with students involved, the potential new homeowner would still have to put some of their own sweat equity into the building.
If the idea works, the new chapter will be able to go beyond the good building record created by Habitat Brandon’s previous incarnation. The former Habitat chapter built 22 homes over the 17 years that the HFH Brandon office was in operation — that’s about 1.29 homes per year.
The closure of the local chapter in 2012 left several local families, who believed they were in line for one of the 14 condominium units at Massey Manor, out of luck — something that angered many Brandon volunteers associated with the organization.
Thankfully, that anger has not prevented Habitat’s rebirth in Brandon. Wells notes that he found many people within our community wanted to see Habitat re-established in Brandon, something we believe is a testament to the lasting goodwill the organization created here over the years.
We wish them good building.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 9, 2013