After completing five homes in the region, Habitat for Humanity Winkler-Morden (HFHWM) has set its sights on their next building project.

The organization hopes to get shovels in the ground in May 2024 to erect a new house in the city Winkler.

"The biggest push right now is fundraising," says Christina Falk, secretary for HFHWM. "In order to build our houses, we need to have all the funds raised to purchase the house before we can build it. Lots for land are quite expensive right now, so we include that in the price. We have had a little bit grant money come in and some donations already."

At this point another $125,000 is needed in order to start building. 

"In the past that would have been a scary number. But we have seen this community really come through in amazing ways in the last five years. We are just super excited to get going on that, to see who wants to partner with us."

For the first time, the non-profit will be working with an immigrant family.     

"Their names are Binwa and Idolo and they have three children," said Falk. "They've been living in Canada for about four years and they're just a wonderful family just trying to start a new life, working very hard, both of them. We're very excited for them. This is a really great way to help their family kind of start and get to the next step."

Falk and her husband have been involved with HFHWM since it was established in the region nearly six years ago. They've stuck with it because they believe in programs that are self-sustaining, programs that give a "hand up" instead of a "hand out" to people. 

"The families who buy Habitat homes, their mortgage payments stay right here and help to build the next house. That is just an amazing thing to see! The other part about it is that it's community funded, bringing the community together to help itself and help its families. We just think it's really important and we love that about Habitat. And when we get volunteers in on building the houses - we have local businesses that donate materials and time and all kinds of things - it just kind of brings everybody together in a new way."

Falk points out that Habitat is addressing two major needs. 

"If you've been paying attention to the news at all in the last year, one of the bigger crises across the country is the lack of actual housing [...] and we're starting to see that more in this local community. We have lots of jobs in our area and people who want to move here [but] they don't have a place to live. We're not only tackling the problem of helping families to be able to purchase their own home but we're also helping to add physical houses to the market where they are really needed. We feel the need for this has multiplied since we started, and we really believe it's a good program to keep going for the future too."

The organization is planning a fundraiser before year's end. 

"We do hope to run our 12 Days of Christmas again, a fun online fundraiser we do every year. We start on Christmas Day and we run for 12 days and each day there are prizes to win."

The organization will post details this holiday fundraiser on social media in the coming weeks.

With files from Robyn Wiebe

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, PembinaValleyOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the PembinaValleyOnline app.