Habitat for Humanity looking for families and land in Ladysmith

Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island is having trouble finding partner families for its empty home in Ladysmith.

Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island is looking for two things in Ladysmith.

In the very short term, Habitat is looking for families who want to partner with the organization and fill a Habitat house that sits empty on Strathcona Road. And in the near future, Habitat is looking for land on which to build a duplex or triplex.

Teresa Pring of Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island spoke to Ladysmith council Oct. 2 and asked for help reaching families in Ladysmith who may want to live in the Strathcona Road home, which Teresa Battle gave back to Habitat after moving to be with her fiancé.

“We are having a great deal of difficulty reaching the citizens of Ladysmith,” Pring told council. “We’re somehow not connecting with the people to let them know the opportunity is there.”

Habitat has hosted three information sessions in Ladysmith, and only five people attended. Pring believes two might be interested in applying, but Habitat hasn’t received any applications yet.

“We know that there are low-income families in Ladysmith because over the years, we’ve received the calls, especially after we built [the Strathcona Road] house,” she said.

Habitat is currently doing some landscaping at the property, and they will be re-painting the inside of the house and replacing a few appliances.

“It’s a nice home,” said Pring. “It’s a nice location, a good yard, a nice little community around there. It’s been a good home; it’s an efficient home, and there’s quite a bit of space, more space than most Habitat homes.”

Noting that the home is “lovely,” Coun. Steve Arnett suggested that people who are eligible to partner with Habitat may not even imagine they could be eligible.

“That’s the problem,” agreed Pring. “We’re asking for young working families who think they would have no chance to buy a home — it’s zero down payment and zero interest.”

While she was at City Hall, Pring also provided an update on Habitat’s new strategic plan that will see the organization build 20 homes by 2020.

“[It] is a pretty serious goal for us, but we really think we can accomplish it,” she said, noting Habitat is currently building its 12th home in Nanaimo.

Habitat would like to build in Ladysmith in 2014 or 2015, at the latest, Pring told council.

“We have a land acquisition committee,” she said. “Even though we did at our last appearance ask for a donation of land, we wanted to let you know we could afford to put some money toward it.”

Habitat would prefer to build a duplex or even a triplex, as increased density creates affordability for families, explained Pring.

“We have a great build team behind us now,” she told council. “We’ve got a young team that’s working really hard for us, and we’re making a mark and a difference. Our duplex that we’re building right now is Built Green, certified LEED Gold status, and that’s what we want to do from now on is build green and build affordable.”

Coun. Duck Paterson noted that when Habitat for Humanity last approached council, the organization was looking for property at the top of the hill that was close to the schools, and he wondered if they would consider property that was down the hill from schools and closer to the town centre.

“If it was a reasonable distance to expect a mom or a dad to walk their child to school,” said Pring.

Anyone interested in becoming a Habitat for Humanity partner family has until Oct. 22 to apply. Visit their website for more information or to apply online or call 250-758-8078.