The finishing touches on Habitat for Humanity Boundary’s seven-unit multiplex in Grand Forks are being completed and the residents are expected to move in within a few weeks.
A grand opening was held at the 72nd Avenue residence on Sept. 8 and for James Elliott, Alan Sandner, Mike Windsor, Chris Caruso, Charlie Kain, Brad Goosen and Brogan Beliveau, it was a chance to realize a dream to be homeowners.
Elliott was overwhelmed by the fact that the dream was now a reality.
“Wow! It’s amazing, like I said (during his grand opening speech), I never thought I’d be a homeowner at 25,” Elliott explained. “It’s an investment in my future; I have an asset now, a form of equity.”
Beliveau was also happy to own his own place and said his unit was “awesome.”
“There’s a lot of room. I like the floors, the two rooms and it’s got a big bathroom,” Beliveau said.
“It’s a first time that I’m a homeowner and I’m really happy about it and I think everyone’s going to have a really good time,” Sander opined.
“It’s really good,” said Windsor. “I can’t wait to live here.”
Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program gives individuals and families in financially vulnerable situations the opportunity to own a home with no down payment and a no-interest mortgage and in return the homeowners to be are expected to assist by putting in “sweat equity hours.”
“We had to put in 250 sweat equity hours and then a family member could help us with the other 250 for 500 total,” said Caruso. “It was anything from sweeping to clean up and landscaping.”
“I’m used to doing buildings and working on stuff like this and it was fun working with Rick Friesen (Habitat for Humanity Boundary executive director) and working with the people that were around. It was a really good experience,” Kain said.
The multiplex is situated close to Grand Forks’ downtown core and that was convenient said Goosen.
“It’s going to be nice to go to the farmers’ market and my nana’s close by. It’s also easy access with the grocery store being downtown,” explained Goosen.
The multiplex also represented a pair of firsts for Habitat for Humanity Boundary – it is the first affiliate in Canada to accept single men with disabilities as partners and the house is Habitat for Humanity Boundary’s first project that is “Built Green” certified, adhering to environmentally responsible standards.
“The Built Green was more just a learning curve,” Friesen explained when asked about the challenges Built Green presented. “Every step of construction we’re always thinking, ‘How can we make this air tight?’ because we have the heat recovery ventilation system, so with that, we don’t want any leakage. That’s extra sealant around windows and doors, blinds and walls.”
The project has come a long way according to Friesen.
“In the beginning it was pretty overwhelming and daunting and I had a million things I had to learn but as we took it one small piece at a time it started to come together and it’s been a huge learning curve and I’m pretty happy that in the near future, I’ll be taking a break from it,” he said.