Edmonton's Habitat for Humanity preps for 75-home building blitz

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Edmonton's Habitat for Humanity preps for 75-home building blitz

Organizers with Habitat for Humanity Edmonton are bracing for the biggest build in its 25-year history.

"It's like the Olympics," said president & CEO Alfred Nikolai.

"To have the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project rolling into our region from July 9 to the 14th is huge," he said.

"We're expecting literally thousands of volunteers to come that week from across The States and around the world," explains Nikolai.

The Carter crew will be working on 58 homes in the south Edmonton neighbourhood of the Laurel, 16 homes in the community of Fort Saskatchewan, and one site yet to be determined all in one week.

In order to tackle 75 construction projects in one week local volunteers are already building walls, decks, and floors for those homes in the warmth of the organization's prefabrication shop.

"I'm putting out a wish to all Edmontonians to try to help us get ready," Nikolai said. "We're going to need the help of volunteers between now and July." 

Each local family receiving a home is also pitching in 500 hours of volunteering.

The families are then responsible for an interest-free mortgage with payments that do not exceed 25 pre cent of their household income.

The 75-home building blitz is the largest affordable housing project ever for the Edmonton chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

One of the big ways the organization keeps its administration costs down is through the proceeds of three ReStores in the city, said Chris Gibson director of ReStore operations.

Items are donated by individuals and corporations, volunteers sort and stock the store shelves, and shoppers purchase building supplies, furniture and other items.

In the three Edmonton ReStore locations last year, 100,000 transactions resulted in $3 million in sales, Gibson said.

But whether you support by shopping or by swinging a hammer, Alfred Nikolai believes "all you need is the will to help others."

You can see more from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Our Edmonton Saturday at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sunday and Monday on CBC TV.