Friday, April 27, 2012

National Women Build Week

In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, women everywhere are coming together to devote at least one day to Habitat For Humanity’s effort to eliminate poverty housing. This week is significant to many of our volunteers because families with children make up a staggering number of those in desperate need of adequate housing. In Guelph you’ll see evidence of Women Build Week throughout our community. Although we haven’t begun to build yet this year, we’re getting close to being ready to kick off our build.

We have land.

At 10:30 am, May 3rd, you’re invited to visit our next Women Build site at 297 Paisley Road and celebrate with us as we raise our Women Build sign!

We have a family.

“Sarah” is a single Mom with three boys under the age of 16. Although she’s been holding down as many as 3 jobs at once, she’s made space in her busy life to complete most of her 400 Sweat Equity hours to make her eligible for our next home.

We have plans.

Our drawings are almost ready to submit for a building permit. “Sarah’s” home will be a simple decent two-story 3-bedroom home.

We have volunteers (though never enough)!

Women throughout Wellington County are anxiously waiting for us to start building so they can join in the fun.

What’s holding us back?

Despite the generosity of our many supporters, we need money for building materials, foundations, roofing and more. It costs money to build a home. So we’re actively seeking Build sponsors, large and small.

In the meantime, we have created a series of workshops for those gals who just can’t wait to come and play with tools. Most are held on Thursday evenings from 7-10 pm, but our Build a Shed Boot Camp is on a July weekend. Evening workshops are only $35 each. The weekend Boot Camp is just $100 and includes lunch, safety glasses and your own pink hard hat (that you get to keep). If you’re a serious do-it-yourselfer, you can sign up for the entire series for just $200.

When you come out to our workshops, you are under no obligation to sign up as a volunteer.

The first workshop – Power Tools 101 (for Women!)– is being held during Women Build Week, on Thursday, May 10th at 7:00 pm and Sharon Lewis, our 2011 Women Build Site Supervisor, is our instructor.

Learn more by visiting

We’d love it if you joined us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Volunteer Spotlight

This month Habitat for Humanity Wellington County would like to recognize Allan Berberich for his outstanding volunteerism. Al first came to volunteer with Habitat back in 2006 and has been a dedicated, passionate and knowledgeable volunteer ever since. Al is described as, “one of those ‘all-around’ volunteers, pitching in at every corner of our organization”

In 2010 Al volunteered a whopping 71.25 hours in the ReStore and 91 Hours at the build site and then in 2011 he inspired us all by devoting 137.5 hours to the ReStore and 71 hours at the Huron St. build site. Additionally, in 2011 Al not only provided great support to the Family Support Committee by helping to plan a workshop for our partner families to walk them through tax preparations, he also helped to mentor student volunteers at the Restore.

Other volunteers describe Al as a knowledgeable and reliable volunteer who is always there when you need him and always has a smile on his face! Al can consistently be counted on for any salvage or demolitions jobs and is more that willing to help show people the proper way to fix or assemble new products. No job is too big or small for Al to get involved in; he does not hesitate to pitch in whenever he sees a job that needs to get done!

Al has shown remarkable dedication and caring for the Habitat family he is the type of volunteer that we love to have here at Habitat for Humanity Wellington County. We are recognizing Al for being one of the only long-term volunteers who has made a continuous, ongoing commitment to both the build and the ReStore, with a gift card from Everyday Essentials. So here’s a BIG THANK YOU to Al Berberich for all of the magnificent volunteering he has done and with without a doubt continue to do!


For information on how you can get involved with Habitat for Humanity Wellington County visit us at Suite 300, 104 Dawson Road, Guelph, Ontario Canada N1H 1A7 or at

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Cleaning? Why not ReStore your home with Habitat?

It’s that time of year again, the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming; no need for heavy winter coats. It’s time to open the house windows and do a good spring clean!

Now there are tons of tricks, lists and simple suggestions out there to make spring cleaning easier and less time consuming; Habitat for Humanity Wellington County has a list of their own to help remind you what items to donate and all about our free pick-ups.  <Take a look below of accepted and unaccepted items

All you need to do to donate an item is bring it into the ReStore located at Suite 300, 104 Dawson Road in Guelph. If your item is too large for you to bring in on your own or you have a number of things to donate, you can call the ReStore at 519-780-2323 to arrange for a free pick-up of all your items!

There are several great reasons to donate your unwanted goods to the Habitat Guelph ReStore. Your donations reduce the amount of material going into local landfill sites. In fact, the Guelph ReStore has diverted over 3,000,000 pounds of goods away from these sites. That's the equivalent to 230 elephants! Additionally, ReStore profits helps us offset administration costs so you can rest assured every penny you donate to Habitat for Humanity Wellington County goes directly to buying building materials to build more homes in your community.   

Spring Cleaning with the ReStore this year will make you feel great about your social and environmental actions, especially with Earth Day around the corner. Habitat for Humanity ReStores help Canadian consumers practice the 3Rs every day:
  • ReDuce - the need to manufacture new products
  • ReUse - gently-used products in your home renovation projects
  • ReCycle - your neighbour's gently-used products by finding a use for them in your house
Are you planning to finally get rid of that TV in the crawl space that merely collects dust? Maybe you'll finally decide to do something about the dozens of cell phones you have stashed away in the closet. Are you unsure of how to properly recycle these electronics? Recycle them with the ReStore and we'll make it easy for you! Bring your unwanted working or non-working electronics into our donation centre and will recycle them RESPONSIBLY!

So while you’re giving your house that thorough clean keep HFHWC and our Guelph Restore on your mind for all your recycled items!

Accepted Items for Donation
Items that Habitat ReStore accepts:
  • Appliances and small appliances 
  • Architectural columns, mantles, antique moldings 
  • Cabinets (kitchen and bathroom)
  • Carpeting and under-pad new or “as new” only 
  • Doors (in good condition NO hollow bi-folds) 
  • Drywall, blue board & cement board, in sheets uncut, (or half sheets) 
  • Drywall mud & tape 
  • Electrical devices and fixtures in “as new” working condition 
  • Exercise equipment 
  • Flooring (tiles, wood, vinyl engineered laminate, parquet) 
  • Furniture (no box springs and mattresses, no upholstered furniture) 
  • Garden tools, implements, structures, shovels wheelbarrows, sheds, etc. 
  • Hand tools, including power tools 
  • Hardware (hinges, handles, knobs, covers, nails, nuts and bolts, screws) 
  • Insulation (only in wrapped bundles) 
  • Interlocking paving stones 
  • Lighting fixtures (interior & exterior) 
  • Office furniture (desks, bookcases, computer work stations, chairs) 
  • Plumbing fixtures without chips or stains 
  • Plumbing tubing & pipes (copper, ABS, PVC, galvanized) 
  • Roofing (shingles, barrier paper and membranes)
  • Sealants and caulks in unopened packages
  • Shutters
  • Siding (wood, aluminum, vinyl)
  • Steel and Aluminum/ Steel tubs, steel desks
  • Televisions, radios, computers, monitors (all electronics)
  • Wall coverings (paper, vinyl, tiles)
  • Windows
  • Wood (lumber, trim, molding, plywood, MDR OFB, plastic) in usable sizes, not scrap
Items NOT accepted: 
Unaccepted Items for Donation
  • Any kind of waste
  • Automotive supplies
  • Toys
  • Books, magazines
  • Clothing
  • Dishes/pots and pans/dishwashers
  • Drywall smaller than 2x3
  • Fertilizers, insecticides/pesticides, plants
  • Glass that is not in a frame
  • Hazardous material (flammables, acids, solvents)
  • Plumbing fixtures that are chipped or stained (no 13 liter toilets)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nearing the Start of Something Special in Centre Wellington

We are rapidly approaching the start of the Centre Wellington Build but Habitat for Humanity and the Centre Wellington Build Committee are not standing around waiting for this to start. Things are BUSY...

On Friday, March 30th the committee is hosting, 'Sheltered from the Storm'. This event will feature delicious food and pleasing music as The Food School & Fancy That Cake will provide the goodies for the evening and Centre Wellington's own Cam Otto will supply great live music.

The special attraction of the evening will be Angry Planet's Storm Chaser, George Kourounis. George was recently on The Grand radio station to promote the event and he's certainly looking forward to supporting Habitat for Humanity.

Moving on to April 14th, we will be breaking ground on Forfar Street to officially kick off the project. The Groundbreaking ceremony is welcomed to the public as we appreciate the support of our communities when we start these projects that will provide sustainable affordable housing to families in the community.

Finally, Elora's own Ian Evans will be embarking on a journey of a lifetime. He will be riding his bicycle "Down Under", 5,000 KM from Perth to Sydney. He will be fundraising money for this community-lifting project. You can sponsor Ian and follow along on his journey through his trip journal.

Fergus get ready, Habitat for Humanity is returning and we need your support!

Monday, March 26, 2012

We Are Making Our Home Applications More Accessible

Update March 27*** CTV shared a news story focusing on the need for more transit and affordable housing for immigrants. Here's a portion of that article.

OTTAWA — The federal emphasis on integrating immigrants through language training and recognition of foreign credentials is far too narrow, says a new paper.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is proposing a new strategy for integration that would broaden the focus to include affordable housing and public transit.

"Federal and provincial settlement programs have not caught up with changing immigrant settlement patterns, including a growing shift to suburban communities," the report says.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is in the midst of public consultations on how to best reshape the intake of immigrants, so that the country attracts the kind of people it needs to sustain its workforce. more...
Recently, we paired with Immigrant Services - Guelph Wellington (IS-GW) to provide information on our affordable home building program to new Canadians and clients of IS-GW. We participated in two IS-GW workshops (Homeownership & Coffee Talk - Immigrant Women's Group) to help disseminate information about our programs. This initiative is funded by a grant received by Habitat Canada as part of the Habitat for Humanity 360 Built Smart Partnership. With this grant, we will look to expand our family outreach to be more accessible to those new to Canada.

The 360 Built Smart Partnership is focused on developing initiatives that eliminates the housing crisis in Canada. This funding will help increase applications from new Canadian families as well as have documents translated by the Translation and Interpretation Program Services (TIPS) into Chinese, Hindi, Vietnamese, Punjabi, and Spanish, the five most common immigrant languages in Guelph and Wellington County. Finally, other funding will be allocated to hiring interpreters to help support new Canadian applicant families.
I caught up to Diane (our Executive Director) to get her thoughts on these workshops
“Affordable housing and language barriers are first concerns for many of these families that immigrate to Canada. To make information available to these families on the housing programs in their native language is the optimal way of opening the door to affordable home ownership”.
*Here are some facts:
According to the Canadian Council on Social Development in 1995, on average 30% of immigrant populations living in cities lived below the poverty line. ISGW has been providing assistance programs since 1978 to “serve new Canadians and build community by providing responsive and diverse settlement services and programs.” Hosting an information workshop on affordable housing is important because those spending more than 30% of their income on housing are considered "at risk". These workshops will help to reduce the challenges newcomers to Canada face as they seek to attain and retain decent affordable housing. Ultimately, the social impact will have these families transition from merely surviving to that of thriving; they will reduce their reliance on social services and healthcare.

Habitat for Humanity Wellington County encourages all of those interested in gaining insight and knowledge into our Habitat for Humanity home building program to pick up information located at our office at 104 Dawson Rd. (Corner of Speedvale & Dawson) or at Immigrant Services (926 Paisley Rd. Unit 4 & 5).
We'd like to thank the Title Sponsors of the Habitat for Humanity Canada 360 Built Smart Partnership for their continued support.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thank You to Centre Wellington

Here is a great letter I'd love to share. It's from one of our committee members of the Centre Wellington Build that will start in May. The Build is located in Fergus at 124 Forfar St. A Dedication event that will include handing over the keys to the deserving families. Enjoy!
March 12, 2012

As I sit here typing this letter, my heart overflows at the generosity of the people of  Centre Wellington.

On Saturday, March 10th Bethel Baptist Church and Grand River Community Church hosted a screening of the movie Courageous.  The setting was the lovely venue of the Fergus Grand Theatre; a venue that is warm and inviting.  The event was held at no charge but donations to Habitat for Humanity’s build on Forfar Street were encouraged.
On behalf of the Centre Wellington Build Committee, we are ENCOURAGED.  Your generosity has taken Habitat another step forward in providing a “hand up” not a “hand out” for two partner families in our Community.
Thank you, for your generosity.  This is a big project.  Your generosity has brought us courage and increased enthusiasm as we get closer to the Ground Breaking Ceremony on April 14th.
Colleen Roberts
Habitat For Humanity Centre Wellington Build Committee

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Habitat for Humanity Staff Build Day aka Walking the Talk

I challenge you to join the Ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk ~ Tony Robbins

The above quote was the mission I shared with ten of my colleagues from Habitat for Humanity Wellington County and the Habitat Guelph ReStore on Tuesday, March 6th. All Habitat and ReStore staff came to the conclusion that it's good and all to ask people to donate their time and money to help build more homes for deserving families in our communities, it's another thing to do the job yourself.

For one day, we stepped away from fundraising and volunteer programs, stepped away from advocacy and social media initiatives, stepped away from policies and stepped away from accounting and administration to focus on, "walking our talk" at the My Neighbour's House project.

It was a GREAT day! There are many enjoyable experiences about being on a home-building construction site. You can meet new people with similar interests or reconnect with colleagues. You will learn new trades skills and gain self-confidence that may have been buried below. However, nothing is more enjoyable than knowing your work will equate to a family breaking a from a vicious poverty cycle, potentially moving away from unsafe and dangerous living conditions to go move into a sustainable housing solution, a Habitat for Humanity Home.

It's truly uplifting to think that the doors you are installing in a room could be the very same door that represents a child's first bedroom door. It is satisfying to think that a child's health and grades can improve because of that door you installed.

Selfishly, there were extra incentives to my building experiences. I'm currently renovating my basement and opted to take the project on myself and my Father to finish. Conveniently, as we are at the stage of door installations in the basement project, what do you think I got to learn on the build site at My Neighbour's House? You guessed it.... I learned to install doors! The timing literally couldn't have been better. Now I'll be able to stray from the norm of my Father teaching me everything about renovations and teach him how to propertly install doors; all in thanks to our wonderful Site Supervisor, John. Thanks John!

Another great element of the day was the ability to work alongside staff and the ReStore. I don't cross paths all the time with some staff of the ReStore and it was a pleasure to work alongside them for an entire day. I think I learned a lot about them as they did about me.

Finally, I'd be remisced if I didn't get a chance to detail our lunch! Those of you familiar with The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro might know that last Tuesday, for lunch and dinner periods, offered free meals to partrons in lieu of a donation to HFHWC. Obviously, we weren't going to miss out on this! Collectively, we piled a bunch of money together as our donation and put in a giant order of delicious and juicy gourmet burgers. I 100% recommend the San Francisco Treat that features cheddar and Kraft Dinner. Yes, THE KRAFT DINNER!

The One and Only San Francisco Treat Burger!

It ended up being a memorable day for all of staff and something we'll plan more frequently. If you want in on this experience, please register to volunteer or contact Annie.