January 16, 2002

Habitat for Humanity, York Region to hold celebration and open house

NEWMARKET –The Habitat for Humanity, York Region will be holding an open house to celebrate its progress to date as Canada's newest Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

WHEN: Sunday, January 20 - 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Ceremonial wall frame raising to take place at approximately 2:45 p.m.

WHERE: The Great Hall

York Region Administrative Centre

17250 Yonge Street (north of Mulock Drive), Newmarket



Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization dedicated to building homes in partnership with families in need. (See attached Backgrounder.)

Canada's newest Habitat affiliate, Habitat For Humanity, York Region was incorporated in November, 2001. Since then over 300 volunteers have registered and more than $56,000 has been raised through donations towards the $100,000 estimated to build the first house.

The local Lion's Club have obtained a pledge for $46,000 from Lion's International. The Town of Newmarket has donated property on Gorham Street in Newmarket for Habitat For Humanity, York Region's first home. Building is scheduled to begin in early summer.

Contact: John Volpe, Habitat for Humanity, York Region Board of Directors,

Member at Large, Public Relations - (905) 726-4345



What is Habitat for Humanity Canada?

Habitat for Humanity is an independent, non-profit Christian housing program dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing by building homes in partnership with low-income families. Homeowners contribute 500 hours of "sweat equity" to the construction of their own homes and then repay a long-term, no-interest mortgage. The use of volunteer labour and the generous donations of funds and building materials keep mortgage costs low.

Since its establishment in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has built more than 100,000 homes in 76 countries around the world. Habitat for Humanity Canada (HFHC) was founded in 1985 and has dedicated more than 400 homes from coast to coast. There are 52 affiliates in all 10 provinces helping to eliminate poverty housing. There are currently 22 affiliates in Ontario.

How does Habitat work?

Habitat is a grass-roots movement. Concerned citizens from all walks of life come together as volunteers to form a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in their community. Fund raising, house construction, family selection and other key decisions are carried out by local affiliates.

Through volunteer labour, efficient management and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund, which is used to build more houses.

Habitat for Humanity is not a give-away program. In addition to a down payment and mortgage payments, each homeowner invests 500 hours of their own labour, called "sweat equity", into the building of their house and the houses of others.

How are partner families selected?

Families apply to local Habitat affiliates. A family selection committee chooses homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners with Habitat and their ability to repay the loan. Every affiliate follows a non-discriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing the families that receive Habitat houses.

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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