Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

BALA — Housing and affordability worked hand in hand here Friday as Habitat for Humanity dug in on a duplex due for completion by Christmas.

The say two families will be moving into affordable, energy-efficient, universally accessible bungalow homes at 1016 Elm St., in Bala.

Each eventually with their own property title and mortgage.

Applications for the two home ownerships are now open on their website.

Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North (OGN) volunteers and supporters celebrated the beginning of construction June 10 in Muskoka Lakes Township.

More than two dozen of them marked the timely occasion, including representatives from the Muskoka Lakes adopt-a-home committee, township councillors and a member of Muskoka Lakes’ attainable housing and heritage committee, along with major donors and OGN members.

“We’re building so much more than just houses in this community,” Kimberley Woodcock, OGN CEO said in a release Monday. “Affordable housing represents safety, stability, and independence for these families, who also benefit from improved education, employment outcomes, and mental and physical health. But more than this, every Habitat home generates more than $200,000 in social benefits for the community.

“That motivates and inspires us.”

At under 900 square feet each, the two two-bedroom homes in Bala are suitable for singles, couples, small families and seniors.

With government funding and community donations of $450,000+ to date, “Building Futures in Bala” is well underway.

Woodcock tells MuskokaTODAY.com that their most recent total estimated cost for the 1,800-square-foot split homes build is $680,000.

More than two dozen volunteers and supporters cheered the start of two two-bedroom Habitat for Humanity Homes in Bala on Friday. They will be ready to put up Christmas trees. Applications are now open. See their website for how to apply.

“Partnerships are key,” she added. “Area businesses have stepped up and generated much-needed products that will support the completion of these homes.”

Muskoka Window and Doors will be providing and installing a full window and door package; New Start Kitchens has donated 75 per cent of two kitchens, one for each home; and Sifft Electric has committed to a 40 per cent discount on their services.

“We are in discussions with many more local businesses that are keen to help. This really is a community effort,” she said.

Habitat’s new business model in recent years no longer sees home owners providing “sweat equity” to help build the home. Nor does it look for volunteers, as in the past with service clubs, who would swing a hammer or help plaster.

This is due to health and safety concerns — so all work is professionally done.

As such those concerns and the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have raised the cost of construction and the budget for these affordable Habitat homes, significantly increasing the challenge of completion.

Fundraising efforts will continue throughout construction.

  • Huntsville

Habitat recently completed a rental home in Huntsville, at 11 Irene St., with four units: two two-bedroom fully accessible units; and two two-bedroom upper units. Both are 1,000 square feet and OGN is in talks with Community Living to rent them.

  • Gravenhurst

OGH also has plans for another build in Gravenhurst next year at 369 Muskoka Beach Road. It would be another semi-detached of 860 square feet, with two-bedrooms. That groundbreaking is planned for the spring of 2023 and a similar completion by the end of the year. Again applications are open for those home ownerships.

To find out how you can help, contact Woodcock at ceo@habitatgatewaynorth.com.

Those interested in experiencing strength, stability, and self-reliance of a stable and affordable home through Habitat for Humanity in Bala, are invited to visit https://www.habitatgatewaynorth.com/affordablehousing for more information and to apply.

See below Woodcock’s recent presentation to the Gravenhurst Rotary Club:

Presentation – Building Futures in Gravenhurst – 27 April 2022 – Compressed

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