Feature photo: Habitat for Humanity Gateway North broke ground on their latest Huntsville build on June 16. (Front from left in colourful jacket) Muskoka Chapter Chair Linda Acton-Riddle, Habitat for Humanity Canada CEO Mark Rodgers, Build Lead Randy Blain, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North CEO David Morris and Mayor Scott Aitchison. The Plymouth Church Youth Summer Service Trip group from Shaker Heights, Ohio (in blue t-shirts) led by Robb Forward (far left) are here for the week to help kick off the build.

Habitat for Humanity is growing again. A group of Habitat representatives, including Habitat for Humanity Canada CEO, broke ground at a property on Irene Street this morning (June 16) for one of 11 homes being built this year in Muskoka.

Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North CEO David Morris thanked Fire Chief Steve Hernen and the fire department for their donation of $8740 raised at Band on the Run, and Cogeco TV for their donation of $750.

 Mayor Scott Aitchison praised the organization for providing much-needed affordable housing. “I was recently asked what problem Huntsville will face twenty years ago, and I said it will still be housing. We need affordable homes in this community and Habitat is reaching to solve that problem,” he said. “A home is as fundamental as anything I can think of and Habitat is helping to fill that gap.”

Habitat for Humanity Gateway North is one of only a handful of chapters across the country that will complete more than 10 builds this year.

“I thank all of you for surrounding your neighbours and helping them have a chance for a better future,” said Habitat’s Canadian CEO Rodgers. “Out of our 56 affiliates, we have seven or eight that will build more than 10 homes this year. I want to applaud the incredible leadership, effort and commitment to this region.” He said that worldwide Habitat for Humanity builds a new home every 11 minutes.

A youth group from Ohio travelled to Huntsville to help kick off the build. Fifteen youth – many of whom have helped with several Habitat builds – accompanied by seven adults from The Plymouth Church Youth Summer Service Trip will be here for the week.

“We stand with in building these homes,” said Robb Forward. The group has helped with 12 Habitat for Humanity builds across the U.S. over the past 16 years, along with some disaster relief efforts, but this is the first time they’ve travelled to Canada.

A youth group travelled all the way from Ohio to help with the build this week

A youth group travelled all the way from Ohio to help with the build this week

Randy Blain from Randy Blain Construction will be the build lead for the project. He said that, barring any unforeseen challenges, the build should be complete within two to five months. The project is slightly behind schedule due to some missing details on the design drawings and the group is still putting a plan into place for resources and volunteers to assist with the build. 

I’m excited to be part of helping to get some people in to a well-built house at an affordable cost. And working with like-minded people for the greater good. I think humans are designed to serve and help people – that’s where we get true joy in life. Even if people don’t know it, it’s inside them, and if they come out and try they’ll get a good sense of peace.

Applications are being accepted for the two homes in the duplex. Another four units on the site are planned for a build next year.

Anyone interested in applying for the home – which is offered with a zero-interest mortgage geared to income – can find details at hfhongatewaynorth.com.