The Client: Habitat For Humanity York Region (Habitat York)
Nancy Van Kessel, Executive Director, and Kari Salovaara, Construction Manager
Habitat York is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity Canada and works with partner-families and volunteers throughout York Region and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Their mission is to provide safe, decent, and affordable homes for the working poor. They were founded in 2001 and have built 11 homes since then. Habitat York has set some ambitious and inspiring goals for the coming years. Their current strategic plan is to help 22 families throughout York Region between 2010 and 2012 and to build 10 homes per year after that.
The need for affordable housing in York Region is truly staggering. There are approximately 7,000 families in need right now and an average wait time of 8 years for social housing. Habitat for Humanity is helping families achieve the dream of home ownership and break the cycle of poverty.
Land values in York Region have become so high that single-family homes are no longer affordable and to maximize resources Habitat York is focusing on higher-density builds.
A key component of Habitat York’s model is to build relationships with the local business community to serve more partner-families than would otherwise be possible. This is how their relationship with Can-Cro developed.
The Challenge: Habitat York’s Main Office in Newmarket
When Habitat York moved into their new office on Eagle Street in Newmarket in 2008 they knew that they were in for some major renovations. The 1859 heritage home is owned by the Town of Newmarket and a condition of Habitat York’s lease is to keep it in good repair. Since the priority for Habitat York is to direct money to their partner-families and because all donations go to that purpose they knew that they would need significant help to do the renovations on their office. They also knew that it would take several years to complete the project in order to stay within their budget — a budget that is generated solely by the Re-Store.
In the summer of 2011, after three years of occupancy, they saw that water-damage was inevitable and that it was time to tackle the eavestroughs, soffits and fascia. The house has a very large wrap-around porch and Construction Manager Kari Salovaara knew that it was too big a job and too technical for their volunteers to handle. He called Can-Cro.