Two Regina Families Receive Keys to Their New Habitat Saskatchewan Homes

On June 20th, 2024, Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan celebrated a heartwarming milestone with the Key Ceremony for their newest builds in Regina. The event marked the official handover of keys to two deserving families, Salim & Sanjida and Abdihakin & Fartun, who have worked tirelessly to achieve their dream of homeownership.

Building Dreams from the Ground Up

The journey to this joyous occasion began in November 2023 when construction of the homes started. Over the months, both families dedicated themselves to completing the required 500 volunteer hours within the community, showcasing their commitment and hard work. Now, as they prepare to move into their new homes next week, their dreams of stability and independence are becoming a reality.

Salim, one of the new homeowners, shared his heartfelt gratitude:

“Initially we didn’t think that this housing opportunity with Habitat for Humanity was within our reach. Yet we took a leap of faith, gathered all the necessary information, and decided to apply. When Habitat agreed to partner with our family, it was one of the most exciting and uplifting moments of our lives. Habitat has given us this precious gift, and words cannot express how grateful we are.”

This achievement is particularly significant as it marks the first new builds completed since the Haultain Crossing project in 2022. Kelsey Stewart, Interim Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan, highlighted the broader impact of this accomplishment: “This occasion marks a significant achievement for our organization and highlights the dedication and hard work of everyone involved. Homeownership is not just about having a place to live; it’s about creating a stable foundation for families to thrive and grow. We are honored to support these families in turning their dreams into reality as we hand over the keys for them to officially become homeowners.”

The construction project was spearheaded by Fiorante Homes, with kitchen renovations completed by Collaborative Construction, and concrete donated by WF Botkin. Each home features 1,224 square feet across two stories plus a basement, including three bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and a laundry room. This project was made possible through the generous contributions of the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and The City of Regina.

A Day of Celebration for Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan

The Key Ceremony was a well-attended event, with speeches from the new homeowners, Habitat Saskatchewan’s Interim Executive Director, Kelsey Stewart, and Honourable Gene Makowsky, Minister of Social Services and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation and MLA for Regina Gardiner Park. The event concluded with opportunities for interviews, questions, and photos, capturing the joy and excitement of this significant milestone.

Welcoming in Two New Habitat Homeowners

On May 30th, 2024, Habitat Saskatchewan proudly handed over the keys to two new Habitat homeowners. The families are moving into previously built Habitat houses in Regina’s Rosemont and Eastview neighborhoods, marking a significant milestone in their journey toward homeownership.

Expanding Opportunities with the Buy Back Program

While Habitat Saskatchewan is known for building new homes, the organization also operates a “Buy Back Program.” This initiative grants Habitat the first right of refusal to buy back homes from previous Habitat homeowners looking to sell and move on from the program. This  approach allows Habitat to serve more families throughout the year, extending their mission beyond the construction of new houses.

Meet the New Homeowners

Fasiuddin & Shameem and Eyasu & Msgana are the newest Habitat homeowners. This opportunity for affordable homeownership not only promotes financial stability but also strengthens community bonds and empowers families with a sense of security, autonomy, and achievement.

For Eyasu and Msgana, the move represents a significant improvement in their living conditions. Their previous apartment, located in a challenging downtown area, did not provide a safe and secure environment for their young family. Eyasu shared his thoughts on this life-changing opportunity: “I work full time, and my wife is a stay-at-home mom to care for our kids. Partnering with Habitat Saskatchewan gives us hope and the encouragement to continue working hard to afford our own home. Homeownership is a relief because it means providing our family with a safe and secure place to live.”

The Journey Continues

The handover of keys to Fasiuddin & Shameem and Eyasu & Msgana is a testament to Habitat Saskatchewan’s commitment to transforming lives through homeownership. By leveraging the Buy Back Program, the organization continues to make a difference, providing families with the stability and security they need to thrive.

As these families settle into their new homes in the Rosemont and Eastview neighborhoods, they are not just moving into a house; they are stepping into a future filled with promise and potential. Habitat Saskatchewan remains dedicated to creating these opportunities, one family at a time, building a stronger, more resilient community for all.

Celebrating New Beginnings: Yorkton Chapter’s 10th build Begins

Yorkton was buzzing with excitement as Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan’s Yorkton Chapter launched their 10th build with a Sod Turning event on May 23rd, 2024.

A Dream Becoming Reality

The highlight of the event was future Habitat homeowner Alexis and her children, who caught their first glimpse of what will soon be their new home. Selected by the Yorkton Chapter in February 2024, Alexis has been diligently working towards her goal, completing the required 500 volunteer hours before their anticipated move-in date in December 2024.

A Community Effort

The construction officially began on May 16th. Leading the project was contracted Project Manager Paul Weinmaster. In a remarkable partnership with the Ministry of Justice, labour for the project was provided by Whitespruce Provincial Training Centre. This collaboration not only aided in the construction of the home, but also offered valuable employment experience for offenders transitioning back into the community. This was the fourth build in Yorkton in collaboration with Whitespruce Provincial Training Centre.

Yorkton Chapter: A Legacy of Support

The Yorkton Chapter has been a vital part of Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan for 14 years. Co-chairs Tom Seeley and Sylvia Henheffer had been at the helm since the beginning. Sylvia proudly stated, “We are so proud to be starting our 10th build right here in Yorkton. Our dedicated team of volunteers truly loves what we do, and we work hard to help families in our community. This exciting 10th build is such a milestone for our Chapter, and we can’t wait to continue the work we do for years to come.”

Building a Brighter Future

Once completed, the house will be a 1008 square foot bungalow with four bedrooms and a developed basement. This build was made possible through significant contributions from the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and local business Lakeview Insurance. Additionally, volunteers from the Knights of Columbus and the local RCMP lent their time and skills to various aspects of the project.

The Event

We were thrilled to be joined by MLA Greg Ottenbreit, speaking on behalf of the Honourable Gene Makowsky, Minister of Social Services and Minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation; and His Worship Mitch Hippsley, Mayor of Yorkton.

This Sod Turning event was not just a groundbreaking for a new home, but a testament to the power of community and collaboration. It was a celebration of new beginnings and the incredible journey of Alexis and her family towards homeownership.

Chapters are an integral part of Habitat Saskatchewan – an extension of our organization, building homes for families outside of our main hubs in Regina, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon. Each Chapter receives support and guidance from Habitat Saskatchewan, but is run by its own Steering Committee, sub-committees, and is volunteer-led. We are grateful for all the people who spend their free time volunteering for our local chapters across the province; it’s no small feat, but you’re doing important work for families who need it most. That is why the current state of the Estevan Chapter is so dire. Without new members joining the team, including a chair or co-chair, our Estevan Chapter is at risk of shutting down.

Financially, Estevan is in a great spot.

The Chapter currently has over $40,000 fundraised dollars and $30,000 in mortgage payments in the bank. In addition, they also already own a plot of land in the city. This is a great spot to be in to start fundraising additional money for the next build. The only thing missing, is the people power to get it up and running. That’s where you come in.

Volunteering your time for a Habitat Chapter

A chapter holds a lot of responsibility when it comes to the execution of a build, and the dedication and determination of its committee members is crucial to the success. The responsibilities of the Chapter members include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating a business plan and budget for the build
  • Identifying qualifying families to partner with
  • Acquiring land to build on
  • Raise sufficient money and gift-in-kind to cover budgeted costs of the house project (at least 75% of budgeted amount must be raised by the time Chapter is ready to break ground)
  • Coordinating volunteers and/or acquiring contractors for the build

Habitat Saskatchewan is there to help and support throughout the process and offer guidance and expertise when need be. We operate as one organization and want to see everyone succeed. If you have any further questions regarding volunteering for the Estevan Chapter, please reach out to a current member. (contact information below)

Volunteer Testimony

It was 15 years ago when I began my amazing journey as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer in Yorkton. There is nothing more heartwarming than to be present when a family receives the key to their new home. I have been present for nine of these in Yorkton, and I can’t wait until some time next fall when I am there for #10.” – Tom, Yorkton Volunteer

Estevan Committee Recruitment

If this sounds like it’s in your area of expertise, or the cause is something you are passionate about – then perhaps joining the Estevan committee is the right fit for you! Closing down this Chapter is not something we want to do, nor do we take lightly. It is our mission to help all people in Saskatchewan have a safe and decent place to call home. We hope you consider joining.

If you are interested in applying, please contact Tara Goulet:

tgoulet@habitatsask.ca | 306-347-4661

 

On February 23rd Habitat staff, alongside government partners, community members, donors, neighbours, and the two families, gathered to celebrate the next chapter for Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan.

A Sod Turning is always a memorable day. It’s the beginning of a new journey for our partner families; and this time around, it also marked the new beginning for Habitat Saskatchewan as we break ground on the first new homes in Regina in over 2 years.

We started the event by acknowledging and paying respect to the Indigenous land we are on with a presentation of sweetgrass.

In Indigenous cultures across Canada, sweetgrass is respected as a sacred herb, used for centuries in ceremonial practices to invite positive energy, healing, and protection. It embodies the strength and resilience of both family and community, and its braiding of three strands represents the unity of mind, body, and spirit.

As a symbol of the rich heritage and our shared values, we presented the families with a braid of sweetgrass. This gift is not only a token of peace and unity but also serves as a protector, warding off negative energies from homes and ensuring safe journeys. It embraces a tradition that fosters a positive living space, enriched by the teachings and blessings it represents.

 

We were thrilled to be joined by our generous government partners: the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation and The City of Regina.

Honourable Gene Makowsky, Minister of Social Services and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation and MLA for Regina Gardiner Park; and her Worship Sandra Masters, Mayor City of Regina attended the event.

Without the support of the SHC and the City of Regina, our builds wouldn’t be possible. We rely on the funding of government partners, community members and businesses, and volunteers to get these projects up and running. Together, we are building more than just four walls and a roof, we are building a home where families will make memories that will last a life time.

Mayor Sandra Masters, Gene Makowsky, Habitat for Humanity Sask Sod Turning

Salim & Sanjida and Abdihakin & Fartun – we couldn’t be more thrilled to have you and all your beautiful children join our Habitat family.

This day was much bigger than just Habitat Saskatchewan, bigger than just our families. It was a moment that spoke to the dreams and hopes of families across Canada. Habitat Saskatchewan is deeply honored to once again embark on a journey of building homes, of crafting sanctuaries where laughter and memories can be made for generations to come.

From your house to your car, here are 4 things you can do to be prepared for the winter season.

Although it feels like spring time out there right now in Saskatchewan, we sadly all know this won’t last forever. Those cold temperatures are around the corner; and a drop in temperatures can bring some unpleasant outcomes. But staying prepared is how we make sure our house, car, and our bodies are safe for what’s to come. Of course there are many more things you can do, but here are 4 to get you started:

1. Stock Up on Winter Supplies

This is a great time to make sure you’re fully stocked with cold weather, essential supplies. Items like de-icing salt, snow shovels, and emergency blankets can be lifesavers during heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures. Preparing ahead ensures that you’re ready to face the winter months with confidence and ease. Stay prepared, stay safe!

2. Check Your Furnace

The heart of your home’s warmth lies in a well-maintained furnace. As the cold sets in, ensure your furnace is in top working condition. Regular maintenance checks not only extend the life of your furnace but also keep your energy costs down and ensure your family’s safety and comfort.

3. Protect Your Pipes

As winter deepens, it’s crucial to protect your home’s plumbing. Insulate your pipes to prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting, which can lead to costly repairs. Remember, a small effort in insulation can save a lot of hassle and expense. Stay vigilant and keep your home safe and warm!

4. Winter Clothing + Shoes

If you’re in need of a new winter coat or boots, keep an eye out for the sales that have either already started or are around the corner. Companies will soon start putting out spring, which means the winter stock has got to go! But since Saskatchewan has its infamous 6 month long winter, we aren’t naive enough to think spring is actually that close (hahaha). So now is the time to get those essential items on sale!

As we embrace another year of growth and community building, we’re excited to share updates on our latest projects in Saskatchewan. Each build is a symbol of hope, community effort, and a brighter future. Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening across the province.

Prince Albert: Leading the Way in 2023

Prince Albert has proudly set the pace for 2023, being the first to break ground on a new build. The project commenced in October with the basement’s excavation, symbolizing the start of a journey to a better future for a deserving family. Set to complete within 12 months, this home is more than a structure; it’s a foundation for a stable, secure future.

Regina: A Spring of New Beginnings

In Regina, we are working with Fiorante Homes, a respected local contractor, and bringing the dream of homeownership to life more efficiently. This month, we began the construction of two single-family homes, starting with basement excavation. Our aim is to hand over these homes to families by spring 2024, showcasing our commitment to building strong communities.

Yorkton: A Testament to Community Spirit

In our Yorkton Chapter, the power of community and volunteerism shines. Our volunteers are gearing up to start a new single-family home in early 2024. Their fundraising efforts have already raised nearly $20,000, reflecting the community’s generosity. This build, marking Yorkton’s 10th Habitat for Humanity home, celebrates the community’s enduring spirit and generosity.

How You Can Support Our Mission

Your involvement is crucial in helping us build homes and hopes across Saskatchewan. There are several ways you can contribute:

Shop and Donate to Our ReStores: Discover a variety of items for your home while supporting our cause. Your purchases and donations of gently used items can make a significant impact.

Donations: Every financial contribution, big or small, helps us continue our mission of providing affordable housing solutions.

Volunteer with Us: Join our team of dedicated volunteers and be a part of this transformative journey.

Join us in making a difference in the lives of families across Saskatchewan!

Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan is delighted to announce its return to building homes in Regina, marking a significant milestone with the groundbreaking for our first basement dug since the onset of the pandemic. Following the completion of our most recent builds at Haultain Crossing in spring 2022, this year signifies a renewed commitment to constructing homes and positively impacting lives within the community.

Working Together for Faster Impact

 

To expedite the building process and help more families, we are working with Fiorante Homes, a trusted local contractor. This collaboration will result in the construction of two homes in Regina this year, representing a significant milestone for the organization.

Partnering with Fiorante Homes accelerates our ability to make a meaningful impact and fulfill our mission.

Volunteer Opportunities at ReStores

Due to the nature of this contracted build, volunteer opportunities directly on the build site will be temporarily suspended. However, volunteer opportunities remain available at our ReStore location. Volunteering at ReStores provide an alternative way for community members to contribute to our mission and initiatives. To learn more about how to volunteer at ReStores – click here!

Support Our Cause

As we embark on this journey to build homes and hope in Regina, we invite you to be a part of the change. Your support matters. Visit our donation page to contribute and help us continue making a positive impact on the lives of families in need.

We are more determined than ever to build a better future, one home at a time. Thank you for joining us in this important mission!

In an exciting new initiative, Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan is proud to announce our partnership with Call2Recycle, a leading organization committed to promoting battery recycling across Canada. This collaboration brings a sustainable twist to our 3 ReStore locations in Saskatchewan, as we introduce battery disposal bins for the benefit of both the community and the environment.

A Green Vision for Saskatchewan

Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan has always been dedicated to making positive impacts on communities, and our latest initiative is no different. The 3 ReStore locations in Saskatchewan are now equipped with battery disposal bins, offering an environmentally conscious solution to encourage responsible battery recycling. What’s more, this service is provided to our customers entirely free of charge.

How it works: 

Drop Off Your Batteries: You can drop off your used household batteries, whether they’re single-use or rechargeable, at any of our three ReStore locations in Saskatchewan. These bins can contain batteries weighing up to 5 kg each.

Eco-Friendly Journey: Once collected, Call2Recycle takes over, arranging the safe transport of batteries to their sorting partners. These partners meticulously organize the batteries by chemistry, ensuring they’re handled with care.

Sustainable Transformation: Processing partners step in to extract reusable battery components. These components are then repurposed as inputs in the manufacturing of new, eco-friendly products.

By adopting these practices, you contribute to a greener future and help protect our environment from the harmful effects of battery disposal. To learn more about this program, please visit their website at www.call2recycle.ca

Join the Movement

Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan and Call2Recycle are calling upon our community to embrace this eco-friendly opportunity. Together, we can make a significant impact by responsibly recycling our batteries and reducing their environmental footprint.

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting partnership as we continue to work towards a more sustainable Saskatchewan. Together, we can build a brighter and greener future.

 

We’re thrilled to share some exciting news: SaskTel recently showcased Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan on their MaxTV channel! This incredible feature provides a unique window into the heart of our organization, showcasing our mission and the work we do within our community.

Meet the Faces of Habitat: Gail, Brett, and Dessie

In this special feature, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from some of the key individuals who drive our mission forward:

Gail: Board Chair

Gail, our dedicated Board Chair, offers valuable insights into the core values that drive Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan. Her unwavering commitment to our cause is truly inspiring!

Brett: Regina ReStore Manager

Brett, the passionate manager of our Regina ReStore, plays a vital role in our operations. He shares his experiences, shedding light on the impact our ReStore has in supporting our mission.

Dessie: Homeowner 

Dessie, one of our amazing homeowners, shares his heartwarming journey with us. His story exemplifies the transformative power of a safe and stable home.

Discover More

Watch the full video below:

 

Get Involved

As always, your support is instrumental in our mission to provide safe and stable homes for families in need. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our upcoming projects, please don’t hesitate to reach out. To support our cause, donate here or learn more about our volunteering opportunities here

A Brighter Future, One Home at a Time

We extend our deepest gratitude to SaskTel for providing us with this platform and to all of you, our dedicated supporters, for making our work possible. Together, we are building a brighter future for families across Saskatchewan.

Chelsey and Owen’s story is a testament to the power of having a place to call home. Becoming Habitat homeowners has been nothing short of a dream come true for them, akin to winning a life-changing lottery. “My father still lives in the same home that I grew up in. There are so many memories. Knowing that you can come back to the home you grew up in, for holidays and family dinners – there’s comfort in that. And that’s what I want for my family,” shares Chelsey, her voice resonating with a sense of hope and determination.

Their journey is one of blending families and aspirations. With five children, creating a harmonious home was a challenge, given their initial limited space. However, when their eldest daughter, Bailey, left for college, the opportunity arose for them to finally live together under one roof. Yet, the reality of sharing a confined space with four growing boys, aged 10, 14, 14, and 17, presented its own challenges. Finding a larger, affordable apartment proved elusive in their search.

“It’s been a struggle. We live in a rental and while it’s not the worst of neighborhoods, it’s not the best either. There’s limited housing in our area and we just couldn’t come up with a down payment to buy a home,” Chelsey candidly admits.

Years ago, a glimmer of hope emerged when a college classmate shared information about Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program. Back then, Chelsey, a single parent, applied but faced income constraints that didn’t meet the qualifications. Fate had different plans, and two years later, Habitat for Humanity Cornwall & The Counties reached out to Chelsey and Owen. This time, with their combined efforts, they were accepted into the program.

Their future home’s location holds a deep significance. The land, donated by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, holds ancestral connections for Owen, a member of the Band. Situated across from Pilon Island, where Owen’s grandfather once resided, the land echoes with cherished memories. It was the very spot where Owen’s grandfather used to pick him up before embarking on canoe journeys to spend time together. This land, infused with heritage and history, was the meeting ground for generations. In a touching ceremony attended by Mohawk Grand Chief Abram Benedict, the family broke ground on their new home last October.

Despite the pandemic causing delays, Chelsey and Owen’s family is on the cusp of completing their 500 mandatory volunteer hours. Their commitment to Habitat’s cause led them to volunteering at the Habitat ReStore and participating in various fundraisers. Owen, a skilled carpenter, crafted over 50 birdhouses and feeders during the summer of 2020, which the family then painted and donated to the local Habitat ReStore for sale. As construction finally begins, they eagerly await their chance to contribute on the build site.

For Chelsey, homeownership embodies safety, security, and the promise of a better future for her children. It’s about anchoring her family in a forever home where memories will flourish. The anticipation of extra space, privacy, and the ability to create a vibrant garden fuels their excitement. Their new dwelling will be a sanctuary for family gatherings, a place for extended family to congregate during holidays and dinners. Importantly, it will be a launchpad for their children’s dreams and aspirations.

“Homeownership gives us stability. I want my kids to get a good education. To do well and succeed. That’s my dream,” Chelsey expresses, encapsulating the essence of their journey – a dream of stability, growth, and creating a legacy of hope for generations to come.Our goal at Habitat Saskatchewan is to continue to help families like Chelsey and Owen’s for years to come, and in order to do that, we rely on donors to help support our mission. If you’d like to contribute and make a difference, please visit our donation page.

At Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan, our commitment to empowering families extends beyond building homes – it encompasses providing the knowledge and tools necessary for successful homeownership. Our Family Services Department partners with families to guide them through the journey of homeownership, and a crucial aspect of this journey is our comprehensive Homeownership Education program. 

Building a Strong Foundation: Homeownership Education

Once a family partners with us, they embark on a transformative journey towards homeownership. A cornerstone of this journey is our mandatory online Homeownership Education classes. These classes are designed to equip families with the essential knowledge and skills required to not only obtain their own homes but also to thrive in their new roles as homeowners.

The Integral Role of Education

Our Homeownership Education classes are not just a requirement; they are a fundamental part of our program. They play a pivotal role in ensuring that families are well-prepared for the responsibilities and opportunities that come with owning a home. We believe that a solid foundation of knowledge enhances families’ confidence and success in their homeownership journey.

A Holistic Curriculum

The curriculum of our Homeownership Education program covers a diverse range of topics that are crucial for successful homeownership. Some of the subjects include:

Understanding Mortgages: Familiarizing families with the intricacies of mortgages, empowering them to make informed financial decisions.

Tax Considerations: Providing insights into tax implications and obligations related to homeownership.

Home Insurance: Educating families about the importance of home insurance and how to choose the right coverage.

Financial Obligations and Budgeting: Equipping families with budgeting skills to manage homeownership expenses effectively.

Credit Education: Offering guidance on building and maintaining good credit, which is essential for financial stability.

Home Maintenance and New Home Warranty: Empowering families to take care of their homes goes beyond ensuring longevity and comfort. We understand the significance of long-lasting investments, and that’s why we also provide families with valuable insights into the New Home Warranty Program. This program outlines details around the 1-year, 2-year, and 10-year plans families buy into when moving into their new home.

Safety Measures: Educating families on home safety practices to create a secure living environment.

Supporting Families on Their Journey

Our goal is not just to provide homes; it’s to ensure that families succeed in their homeownership journey. To support this goal, we provide volunteer hours to families for their attendance and performance in the Homeownership Education classes. We understand that informed families are better equipped to make the most of their homeownership experience.

Fostering Success and Stability

The Homeownership Education program reflects our commitment to creating lasting change in the lives of our partner families. By arming families with knowledge, we empower them to make informed decisions, achieve financial stability, and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities.