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Habitat plans new Yellowknife build, looks to Behchokǫ̀ next


Habitat for Humanity has begun raising money for its next housing project in Yellowknife, while working on longer-term plans to expand its operations to Behchokǫ̀.

On Tuesday, the NWT branch of the organization – a non-profit which builds homes “as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty” – announced a fundraising raffle for a new affordable housing project on Yellowknife’s Spence Road, south of Finlayson Drive.

Habitat has printed 2,255 tickets, at $25 per ticket, for the raffle. The organization said 2,255 represents the number of NWT families “currently living in unsuitable, inadequate, or unaffordable housing.”

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Prizes include an ATV, round-trip WestJet tickets, and a TV.

The charity last handed over a home in Yellowknife to a family in December 2017. Families selected put in 500 hours of labour and pay an “affordable mortgage” (with no interest, designed to be less than 30 percent of the family’s income) in return for their property.

Matt Belliveau, executive director of Habitat for Humanity NWT, said the group had learned from past builds and would take a slightly different route this time – one that may pay dividends for other NWT communities.

“This upcoming build is going to be a ready-to-move house, prefabricated,” he said. “That will add some certainty to the process for us on the budgeting side of things, and the number of volunteers we need to complete the build.

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“We also wanted to try a build in this format to see if this something that can work in communities outside Yellowknife.

“We’ve applied for grant funding that would allow us to do that. Going with this ready-to-move home opens up opportunities for us to work in communities where we would have a harder time finding skilled workers to volunteer over the course of the build.”

Belliveau said Habitat and the NWT Housing Corporation had partnered to apply for federal cash. Habitat sees Behchokǫ̀ as an obvious choice for its first expansion into a community beyond Yellowknife.

“It’s a community where there are a lot of people living in unaffordable housing,” said Belliveau.

“Along with Yellowknife, they are a big chunk of the 2,255. To build in Behchokǫ̀ is a similar process to Yellowknife and if we went with a ready-to-move house, we would just be shipping it up. It’s easy for our volunteers and staff to get over to Behchokǫ̀ and assist.

“That will be coming in the future. Nothing is set in stone but we know there is a huge need in Behchokǫ̀.”

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