“It is good to be here, let us build our home.”

It was the late 1800’s when Heinrich Ratzlaff scratched those words into a tree after he first eyed the prairie expanse where the community of Rosenort now rests. Some two centuries later, the words of Rosenort’s first mayor will soon ring true for another fortunate family.

Habitat for Humanity is partnering with local manufacturing firm, K-Tec Earthmovers, to build a Habitat home in the community.

“We wanted to look at different organizations that we figure can make a real impact, a tangible impact in the communities that we work in (and) that we live in,” said Shane Kroeker, Director of Strategic Initiatives at K-Tec.

“We figured that Habitat for Humanity is obviously a very reputable organization with a super strong cause, so we chose them as our charity of choice this last year. We wanted to do something a little bit unique, a little bit more special with them, something that we could put our name behind, something that we'd be all really proud of in our community.”

Michelle Pereira, COO for Habitat Manitoba, says the the seed for the project was sewn by Mike Palitsky, a Habitat board director and President of K-Tec Earth Movers.

“He just was so moved by the business model and how the money gets reinvested and how families purchase the home. They started supporting us financially last year and then they made a full commitment to sponsor an entire house, which is about a $200,000 to $240,000 investment on average. They are going to sponsor the entire house, but they wanted it to be built in the community they do business in, where their base is … in Rosenort.”

One of K-Tec’s contributions to the project is the construction and sale of a custom scraper.

“That's what our business is," said Kroeker. "We build earth moving equipment. We're looking to our suppliers for some donations for materials that we build our machines out of, so that we can promote them as well.”

The plan is raise funds by selling that equipment at auction.

“Hopefully, whatever the selling price [is], we use all those funds to eventually build this house here in Rosenort to be able to see this tangible giving back to our local community," noted Kroeker.

Meantime, the search is on to select a homeowner for the project. Prospective homeowners need to meet certain criteria.

“We [are looking] for families with one person in the home working full time for at least two consecutive years, or the equivalent of a full time job for two years consecutively," explained Pereira. "You have to have children. You have to have good credit. You have to partner and volunteer 500 hours. We call them sweat equity hours - you help build your house. You might volunteer in your community, for your kids school. You have to be willing to take on the responsibility of owning a home. But we want to make sure that the family is set up for success.”

It’s the mortgage terms that make this home affordable, points out Pereira, as ownership often costs less than renting.

While K-Tec has committed to sponsoring the entire project, Kroeker says there will be opportunity for the whole community to chip in on a volunteer bases at various stages of construction.

Interested families can reach out to Carmen Fredborg, Habitat’s Manager of Family Services, by emailing cfredborg@habitat.mb.ca.

A K-Tec scraper was used for the initial earthwork development at the site. (Supplied by K-Tec)