Moose Jaw’s Metcalfe family is getting ready to move in to the latest Habitat for Humanity home in the Friendly City as it nears its completion.
“Normally, it takes around 3,000 man-hours to complete a house,” said Fern Paulhus, build manager for Habitat. “We are at least at 2,500 hours.”
The Metcalfes were first informed they would be receiving Habitat’s third Moose Jaw home in January, and it is expected to be completed in February of next year, said Angie Metcalfe.
For Metcalfe, her husband Rob, and their children, Josh, Isaac and Emma, it was a pleasant surprise.
“I actually screamed and cried at the same time (when we were told), and I literally jumped off the ground,” she said. “I felt really blessed and really greatful.”
The typical Habitat home costs $100,000 to build, with much of that being drawn from the project budget, said Paulhus, noting that the Metcalfe home had “about 25 per cent of the build budget donated.”
The community chipped in in other ways, as well, he said, noting in particular the efforts of the Moose Jaw Fire Department’s Chris Mealing, Jim Smith, Jason Hutchinson, Paul Busse, Curtis Beler, Taylor Enns and Rob Halsail.
But the home is not given away for free. Habitat treasurer Bill Harris said recipient families have to put in 500 “sweat-equity” hours: time spent helping in the construction of the home, volunteering with the Habitat organization or working with other community non-profits.
“The Habitat slogan is a hand up, not a hand out,” he said.
Further, noted Harris, the no-interest mortgage on the home is owned by Habitat, and no banks are involved, meaning that the organization can continue to sustain future efforts with the mortgage payments collected from past projects.
But for Metcalfe, the sweat-equity hours were far from a deterrent.
“In the period of time that they’ve been building our home and we’ve gotten more involved, I’ve come to understand and know a lot more about Habitat,” she said. “One of the things I love about them is that, besides us being involved with building our own home, Habitat is really wanting people to get involved with other non-profits in the community.”
Metcalfe said that involvement with community organizations strengthens the community as a whole.
“I think the fact they encourage people to get involved with charitable organizations just helps to build a stronger community and creates relationships, ties and friendships amongst different people and different groups,” she said. “It really just brings people together and creates a strong foundation for a healthy, supportive, and well-functioning community.”