With the increasing difference between wages and housing prices, Christina and Duane Falk invited residents of Winkler to discuss bringing a Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Chapter to the city.
Steve Krahn Vice President for Regional Development for Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, lead the meeting and says with Winkler being the birthplace of HFH in Canada it only makes sense to create a chapter here.
"Having the first homes ever built in Canada under the Habitat banner back in 1985, it only makes sense to me we would be continuing to build in a community that is known for its generosity and care for one another."
Gloria Penner speaks for the success of the program, she was one of the first people to receive a home in Winkler back in 1988.
Penner says it was the first home they ever owned, only renting prior, and lived in the home for almost 30 years.
The local community came together at that time to build homes under the HFH banner, though a Canadian branch had not been established yet, and so no local committee was formed.
The meeting held last night at Central Station was a presentation on what a chapter in Winkler would look like and information on the HFH organization.
During his presentation, Krahn addressed the misconception that HFH gives away homes for free.
All houses built are sold to families at market value, with a mortgage held by the Habitat. These entry-level homes have no down payment, have a 15 year no interest mortgage, with payments 27% of their income. Money from the mortgage will be recycled back into the organization and used to build more homes.
A chapter is an internal division of HFH run 100 percent by volunteers in the community. The local chapter must create their own committee's, find land for the houses, find partner families, fundraise, and find volunteers or trade for construction of the homes. Mortgages and all accounting will be held by HFH Manitoba.
Christina acknowledges that creating a chapter will be difficult, but working together will make it possible.
"This isn't just a job for one person, it’s for a group of people to work together. We all come with different skills, different gifts, if we work together it won't be so daunting. We work a lot for people in other places and I think it's important to help out our community as well."
Another meeting has been planned to be held in November to determine the number of people dedicated to creating a chapter and how the chapter will be run as a faith-based organization while remaining inclusive of other cultures in the area.