Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan (HFHSK) has announced the appointment of Darrick Latsay as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective May 1, 2023. Darrick brings with him a wealth of experience, having served as General Manager at Saskatoon-based Kova Engineering, where he increased profit and staffing levels while driving new organizational structures, business systems, and a risk management program. Darrick also worked at Regina-based IPSCO/Evraz for over 15 years, progressing through various roles into management and serving as a continuous improvement leader. He is an Advisory Board member with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and a past volunteer with Realm Foundation, a charity offering personal support networks for people experiencing high levels of physical disability.

Darrick has an MBA and a Leadership Certificate from the University of Regina. He is also a Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, an internationally recognized process of continuous improvement that helps organizations respond to rapidly changing environments.

The CEO Selection Committee was impressed with Darrick’s relationship-building skills and his ability to build consensus and make meaningful connections with partners. He has a strong management background and has demonstrated his ability to empower others to common goals. His results-oriented approach and experience will help Habitat Saskatchewan build upon its provincial merger to attain sustainable growth and serve more families in need of affordable housing.

Darrick, his wife Laura, and their two boys (aged 12 and 13) live on an acreage south of Saskatoon. Active sports schedules and summer camping keep the family busy.

In his new role, Darrick will be based in Saskatoon but will be spending considerable time in all locations to get to know staff and volunteers and understand the best way to support them. He will be working on building a stronger staff and volunteer team, renewing the build program, building new partnerships, and attracting resources to achieve strategic priorities.

Gail Lefebvre, Board Chair of Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan, said, “We believe that Darrick brings the level of leadership that our organization requires. We are confident he will help us achieve our growth agenda to serve more low-income families across the province with safe, decent, and affordable housing. His leadership and strong organizational skills will be instrumental in helping us achieve our mission.”

Darrick expressed his excitement about the new opportunity, stating, “Leading Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan is an incredible honour, and I am excited to embark on this journey with our dedicated team. With a deep commitment to making a difference in our communities, I am eager to apply my experience and expertise to advance the organization’s mission of uniting communities to empower low-income families with strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership. As a leadership professional, I am committed to driving growth, achieving our mission, and fostering a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”

The Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan Board of Directors expressed their appreciation to all those who helped work through the transition to the new CEO, including Gary Gurtler, who served as interim CEO. The organization is excited about the future under Darrick’s leadership and looks forward to the journey ahead.

Safe, decent, affordable housing provides families a place to build and grow. When a family is willing to work with Habitat Saskatchewan and is dedicated to the hard work of becoming a homeowner and achieving affordable homeownership, families can transform their lives.

Affordable homeownership helps create the conditions that free families from stress and fear, helping build stability and confidence. Studies show that strong and stable households are foundational to child development and growth. Owning an affordable home also allows homeowners to lift up their entire family by saving for their futures and investing in educational opportunities.

Our Impact on Homeowners

Research has shown that Habitat homeowners are happier, healthier, and more financially stable, allowing them to return to school, learn a new trade or upgrade their job skills. Meanwhile, their children are more confident and do better in school.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation conducted a Canada-wide survey of Habitat families, and the majority reported improved health, happiness, and overall well-being.

Here are the stats:

  • 86% of Habitat homeowners report being happier since moving into their Habitat home. 89% said their family life improved.
  • 70% of homeowners reported improved health, including reduced colds, allergies, asthma symptoms, and stress.
  • 65% reported an increase in their children’s confidence. Children’s participation in extracurricular activities also increased.
  • 58% reported they were better off financially.

The benefits of a Habitat home reach far beyond the four walls these families help build. Through reduced reliance on social housing and food banks, better education and employment outcomes, and improved health, every Habitat home built helps benefit the entire community.

Our Impact on Children

Growing up in a safe, decent, affordable home can powerfully affect children. Our work shows that housing quality, location and affordability affect a child’s ability to thrive.

Low-quality housing accompanied by pests, poor ventilation, lack of heat and other detrimental factors has been strongly linked to physical health problems for children.

The stress that parents experience due to living in poor conditions can translate into emotional and behavioural problems in their children. Children whose families are forced to move frequently in search of better, more affordable living situations often struggle. Parents paying too much for a place to live too often must deplete financial resources that otherwise could be invested in their children’s health, education, and futures.

By building safe, clean, and healthy housing for low-income families, we work to eliminate children’s experiences of substandard housing, thereby supporting their growth and development.

Impact Highlights

Habitat Saskatchewan has partnered with thousands of families throughout our time as an organization. We aim to ensure our families succeed through their homeownership journey by offering them support. One of the areas of support is through our education platform, which allows them to learn about budgeting, financial saving, home maintenance, home insurance, etc.

Here is our impact brought to light:

Highlights from Latoya –  

“The consistency that comes from homeownership will allow me to plan and save for my children’s futures. My children can have opportunities I never had, and maybe I can explore other opportunities for myself, like going back to school.

A Habitat home is a strong foundation for a family, an opportunity on which we can build a better life. Stability for my family is fundamental, and Habitat has made it possible by providing us with a basic tool in achieving this, a home. So, thank you so much to everyone that has made this dream possible for me and my children.” – Latoya, Habitat Saskatchewan homeowner.

 

 

Highlights from Ramona –

“Being able to say that this is our home brings joy to our life. We are very happy we have a beautifully built home that suits our family’s needs. We live in an accessible unit, and it has provided me with the accessibility to care for my son with more ease. Our everyday routines are manageable without limitations.

The accessibility and modifications that have been done to our home has had a huge impact on our quality of life. Our lives have become more stress-free, and at the end of each day we enjoy reminiscing and looking forward to what our future holds.” – Ramona, Habitat Saskatchewan homeowner.

You can look at Habitat Saskatchewan’s impact by checking out the stories on our website in the news section or by visiting our social media pages @habitatsask.

National Volunteer Week – April 16th to 22nd, 2023

This is the week we get to celebrate the many volunteers that chose to dedicate their time to work with our charity.  They felt a clear connection to our mission and wanted to help us create a world where our families have access to safe and affordable housing.

They are the heart of our work across Saskatchewan and we rely on them to show up for us and their community every single day.  This is why we wanted to take the opportunity to thank and celebrate them all this week!

We are grateful to You!

We are especially grateful to highlight a particular volunteer that keeps showing up at one of our ReStores each week and has been coming to help us since 2022.  Cheryl has a kind soul and she told us that her favourite part about volunteering is the satisfaction of giving back and at the same time, doing something she enjoys.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

“Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity helps me help others by participating in raising funds used to help build future housing for people who could otherwise not qualify for it” – Cheryl

Cheryl has managed to do over 500 volunteer hours at the ReStore!  How incredible is that!  It is an individual like her who we long for to help us deliver our mission.  She brings her smile and her talents to work with us and we are so lucky to have her.

You can see from her picture that she is happy to help and she gets to wear one of our cool volunteer aprons!

Thank you so much for all of the work that you have done and for your commitment to our organization, it does not go unnoticed!

 

Many Volunteers

Habitat Saskatchewan has many more volunteers that work with us to make all things happen.  Our board works with us voluntarily to help steer our organization toward a sustainable future. Their roles are not taken lightly and they put so much of their personal time into making sure we live and breathe our mission, vision and values.  It is almost crazy to think that a volunteer could give so much of their time to help in this way, but they do it, they love it, and we count on it.

Every Volunteer Makes a Difference

At Habitat Saskatchewan, we welcome volunteers from all backgrounds, experiences, skills, and stages of life. Fulfilling volunteer experiences begin with matching your skills and passions with our volunteer opportunities.

Whether you’re an individual, corporate team, community group, or a small group of friends – assisting at events, picking up a hammer, or helping out at the ReStore, there are many different ways for you to volunteer. Being a volunteer means you are an integral part of what we do and how we do it.

With your help, whole neighbourhoods improve and completely transform. Through this transformation, families can overcome the barriers that so often exist between their families and better, healthier, and more financially stable lives. We believe everyone has the skills to contribute, and we will work with you to find the right opportunity!

Volunteer today to help us build a better future in our community!

Sign-up to Volunteer Today!

We always need your help and can’t wait to work with you!  Check out the link below for more details and to reach our page to sign-up!

Volunteer with Habitat Saskatchewan

Sediqah homeownership

Watch our new family video!

Watch here:

Sediqah’s Story – Part 1

Another Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan family told us how they feel about their homeownership journey. If the tears in their eyes don’t get you, we don’t know what will!

Sediqah says it is like a dream that she has a house, her kids have grown into good men and they have a good future now with peace.
Homeownership has made her so happy and it has been a blessing for her family. She prays for single mothers like her to have a place to live like she does and food to feed their families. She says that Habitat has been a big help and she is forever grateful!

Thank you to all of the donors, sponsors, community partners, and volunteers who have made Sediqah’s homeownership dream possible.  Without the generous support of people in our communities across Saskatchewan, helping a family like Sediqah’s could not happen.

 

Be a Hero Today!

If you want to be a hero in a family’s life, like Sediqah’s, please donate to Habitat Saskatchewan today! Any donation helps our purpose by empowering Saskatchewan families through safe, decent and affordable homeownership.

 

Donate Today!

Who is Tanya?

Tanya and her girls are at their old rental place.

Tanya is a Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan family that signed her mortgage with us in August of 2022. That’s right! Tanya is a homeowner! She lives in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and was renting a home that was not a safe place to raise her two daughters, Brooklynn and Chelsea.

As a single mother raising her two daughters while working full time, you can imagine the stress that creates. Not only does it create stress, but it can be traumatic and unsettling. With that said Tanya found the courage to apply to our program giving Habitat Saskatchewan all financial documentation so we could decide to partner with her.

She managed to work on building her new home and helping with fundraisers with our committee to get her 500 mandatory volunteer hours completed. What an accomplishment!

Why is Homeownership so Important to Single Mothers?

Homeownership for many low-income single mothers is only a dream! We witness this repeatedly when we meet with the single mothers that apply to our homeownership program. Our waitlist is very long, and many single mothers are fighting for the chance they deserve so they can give their children a safe and stable place to call home.

All we want as a parent is to provide for our children and hope they are more successful in their lives than ours. Homeownership allows our low-income families to build equity and create self-reliance and independence. Our program provides low-income families with a hand-up in their life journey, which makes happier children who have a better chance of success in their future.

We have many success stories, and I know Tanya is one of them!

Tanya Wanted to Share Her Story

Cutting the ribbon at Tanya’s key ceremony.

“I would like to thank Habitat for giving Brooklynn Chelsea and myself a chance to purchase a house to call our own. For years the girls and I had lived in fear of not knowing what would happen. In 2009 I became a single mother and feared for the girl’s safety. The girls and I lived behind locked doors for the next five years. The girls are growing up too fast, and I want them to be able to enjoy their childhood as much as they can. I applied to become a Habitat partner family when they started helping families in Moose Jaw. I realized it was not my time at that moment. Habitat had let me know what was needed to succeed in the future to be accepted. I continued to move forward and not give up, and I worked on what was suggested. I knew my girls deserved a better, safer place to call home. They need to be kids and not have to worry.

My family and friends encouraged me to apply a second time. I’m unsure where I would be right now if it weren’t for them. We screamed with delight when we got the call saying we had been chosen to become a Habitat partner family. Our dream had come true. When we found out where the house would be in Moose Jaw, I sighed in relief. I grew up in the neighborhood where the house would be built. My parents are two blocks away, and my great-grandma is a block away. I have always been close with my parents and sister, and now that I will be back in the neighborhood, my girls can have that same feeling I had growing up, feeling safe and being close to family. Thank you, Habitat Saskatchewan, for everything you do for families. You made this family’s dream come true.” – Tanya

What Tanya Taught Us

Tanya taught us that no matter if you are a single mother or a person with a low income, homeownership is possible.  You can turn your dreams into a reality.  Having the support and encouragement of others is a blessing. If you fight hard enough and are dedicated, becoming a Habitat homeowner will change your life!

Be a Hero to a Single Mother in Need

With so many people waiting on our waitlist for the opportunity at homeownership and the inflated costs to build homes, Habitat Saskatchewan and our low-income families need your help more than ever. You can help give these families everything they need to feel safe and stable for the rest of their lives. You would be giving a child a home base so they can succeed in their future.

Tanya’s new Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan built home.

With your gift, you can be a hero to these families today, giving them the comfort of affordable homes to live that they need right now and the assurance of knowing they have a safe place to call home.

Donate Today!

Do you want to make an impact?

Our Habitat ReStores help keep tons of perfectly good items from landfill. In fact, Habitat for Humanity ReStores across Canada helped divert an estimated 43,000 tons of product from landfills every year. That’s the equivalent in weight of 7,800 elephants!

Habitat for Humanity ReStores accepts donations of high-quality new or gently used items that are sold to treasure hunters, skilled tradespeople and DIY’ers, helping raise money to support our vision of a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. That’s right! You get to help people in our communities while making sure we send less to our landfills. Overall, it is a win-win situation!

What can you find at our ReStores?

All kinds of things, including high-quality, gently used, used goods or new furniture, lighting, doors, windows, hardware, antiques, and more. Even better, because new donations are always coming in, there’s always new stuff to find. What you can find in one of our three ReStores is donated by our amazing corporate partners or by generous individuals like you, who might be downsizing or renovating, or simply just want to get rid of something you no longer like.

If you are renovating, our ReStores are a great place to pick up building materials, accessories, or paint. When you visit one of our stores before the renovation gets underway, one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be there to help you find what you need.

Want to donate to one of our three ReStores?

If you are considering donating to one of our three Habitat ReStores – thank you! Keep in mind that not all donations can be accepted. Visit our website to get the list of what donations we accept or do not accept.

Donation Items List

Please contact us ahead of time to find out if they are able to accept your donation and what their location and donation drop-off hours are. You get our contact information and locations by visiting our website.

Habitat ReStore Locations and Other Details 

Every time you donate or shop, you are helping Habitat Saskatchewan build more homes for low-income families in need throughout Saskatchewan and helping reduce the amount of stuff that ends up in our landfills.

Helping people in your community and the environment makes you a hero!

 

Dessie originally came from Ethiopia and spent some time in a refugee camp in Uganda until he was accepted by the government of Uganda and given a refugee mandate. After 16 years of suffering through refugee life, in 2007, he was sponsored by Knox Metropolitan United Church. He came to Regina with his 5-year-old son. Shortly after being in Regina and taking English classes, he started working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority as a continuing care aid. To become certified, he could work there while taking the continuing care aid course through SIAST.

Dessie told his story at the Habitat Saskatchewan Doors and More event in 2019.

In 2011 he became a Canadian Citizen. In 2013 he applied for the Nursing Program at SAIST and was accepted. He knew that accomplishing this would be challenging as a single father. Still, he worked very hard, knowing it would help give his son and himself a better life in Canada. His dream was to graduate as a nurse, get a good job, buy a house, and proceed to plan for their future.

The Next Chapter

When he started his second year of nursing study, tragic and shocking news came from back home in Ethiopia. His elder sister and her husband died in a car accident, leaving their four children without a guardian. The children were also travelling with their parents, but they survived, except one had a terrible back injury. These children don’t have other aunties or uncles who can care for them except for Dessie. From that point, he decided to discontinue his studies to work full-time and help his sister’s children. He took the responsibility of caring for them by sending them money through the temporarily assigned legal guardian. The following steps would be to figure out how to get them to Canada and apply to be their legal guardian soon.

Dessie applied to Immigration Canada to sponsor his four orphan nieces and nephews to come to Canada and live with him. His application was accepted for all children, which was a significant accomplishment. Two children could come to Regina before the other two, making the transition hard but manageable. The other two children had to stay behind in Ethiopia together due to the back injury of the youngest child. During his immigration process, the youngest boy’s medical result showed that his back injury had nerve and muscle complications. His mobility will be affected while he grows up unless he gets proper medical attention. When he gets older, he may have difficulty walking up and downstairs. Dessie was told he would require a wheelchair-accessible home before the other two children could join them in Canada. Dessie was sad and upset as he was unsure how to get an accessible home due to the lack of options and financial situation. Ultimately, he could not save for a house downpayment with the many loans and students he had taken on for his schooling.

Dessie decided to go back to his nursing school studies in the meantime while he tried to figure out his housing situation. The three-bedroom apartment he lived in with the three children in downtown Regina was old and poorly maintained—cracks in the walls, heating and window issues, and infested with mice and Cockroaches. The building they lived in was also unsafe. The security system at the entrance door would not work, so anyone could open and enter the building. They found numerous homeless people inside, sometimes with knives and potential weapons, sleeping in the front door and hallways. Dessie and the children were extremely scared, and this living situation was not ideal with the children involved.

Applying for the Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan Homeownership Program

After thinking hard about his situation, Dessie applied to the Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan homeownership program. After going through the application process and supplying Habitat with all of the required financial documentation, and then having a home visit, he was accepted into the program. Habitat was able to build Dessie and his family a four-bedroom home with a full basement that was wheelchair accessible.

 

Dessie and some of his children with Tara Goulet, the Director of Family Services for Habitat Saskatchewan enjoying a nice visit together.

Once Dessie was able to confirm with Immigration Canada that he had a stable and accessible home, he was able to apply to have the other two children join their family in Regina. As of 2021, all the children are together in Regina, safe and sound. All his children are happy and confident to invite their friends to come and play and hang out in their new home. They are so excited to be together in the same house and now have a sense of stability. Dessie is happy to be a homeowner while paying down a mortgage to help him build equity for his children’s future, which he never thought would be achievable. “After all these children have been through, providing them with stability and a safe neighbourhood is a dream come true” – Dessie.

Dessie’s life has also changed throughout his homeownership journey, especially now that he has more joy and confidence. Dessie is no longer a single dad and has an addition to his family, a beautiful baby girl! Congratulations are in order! “Homeownership with Habitat has given me blessings” – Dessie.

Watch a clip we took of Dessie as he tells us how he feels about being a homeowner:

 

Be a Hero Today!

Thank you to the many donors, volunteers, and partners who helped Dessie and his family achieve their homeownership dream and the safety they deserved.

If you want to be a hero in a family’s life, like Dessie, please donate to Habitat Saskatchewan today!

Any donation helps our purpose by empowering Saskatchewan families through safe, decent and affordable homeownership.

Click Here to Donate