Habitat for Humanity: The Carter Work Project

Canada 150 has Canadians
everywhere celebrating in unique and interesting ways. – Including Habitat
for Humanity. Their 34th Jimmy and Rosalynn
Carter Work Project is building 150 homes in the Edmonton
area, 25 in Winnipeg, and another 50 homes
within the West of Canada. – Access to affordable housing
is difficult for many Canadians, and finding accessible
housing is even tougher. – AMI’s Alex Smyth had the
opportunity to visit the Edmonton job site for the Carter
Work Project and speak with one

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of the fortunate families
receiving a barrier free home, as well as some of those
involved with building it. ALEX SMYTH (VOICEOVER): The job
site is swarming with more than 1,000 volunteers as they
hammer nails, cut boards, and help build these new homes. VOLUNTEER: Like a pro. Here we go! ALEX SMYTH (VOICEOVER): They’re
wearing different colored t-shirts that identify
project roles, like hospitality
or construction. – I’m Alfred Nikolai. I’m the president and CEO of
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. I have the best job in the world
because I get to tell a family, you’ve been approved to purchase
a Habitat for Humanity house. Habitat for Humanity affiliates
across the country are building 150 homes with the Carter
project to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada. Half of those homes are being
built by Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. We’re building 75
homes for 75 families. ALEX SMYTH (VOICEOVER): As part
of the Carter Work Project, former president of the United
States Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn were in Edmonton to
lend a hand on the historic build. One of the families to get
approved is Carla and her son, Ethan. – When we were selected
as a partner family, it was so surreal. I was so happy. It was just like all the
stress out of my body just was released. I was happy. I knew that there was a
different future for us– a positive future. – All of our families will have
to show that they’re willing to work for their home. So each of our families has
to give us 500 hours of sweat equity, we call it, and
that’s their down payment. Then we sell them the
home at market value. ALEX SMYTH (VOICEOVER): Carla’s
been busy working alongside volunteers on her new home. – Is that enough? VOLUNTEER: –Is there
another one at the top? – Yep. When we first came out on site,
there was just the foundation– so the basement and the floor. Now we have erected
the outside walls. We’ve erected the
inside framing, and now we’re putting
on windows and doors. ALEX SMYTH (VOICEOVER):
Carla and Ethan, along with other
selected families, are receiving barrier free homes
due to their accessibility needs. Carla gave me a tour of her
unfinished home’s accessible features. – So this is the bathroom. So the bathroom– the
accessibility part is the wider doorways. You can rotate your wheelchair
360 degrees in the bathroom. As a renter, you don’t
have the accessibility. Washrooms are small. Doorways are smaller. If you have steps
coming into your home, there’s no accessibility. So having this barrier free home
means that I can keep my son with me. It’s the reason we
can stay together. Otherwise I’d have to look at
maybe putting him into care. – Habitat for Humanity Edmonton
builds more homes than any other affiliate in Canada. And the reason is they have the
best volunteers in the world. Every nail that’s in these homes
has been pounded by a volunteer. VOLUNTEER: Can you do another
one while you’re here? This one right here. – My name is Imran Faber. I am a Habitat board member,
and I’m also here volunteering. I think in this particular site,
it was really to spend time with the families and actually to be
pounding a nail and holding up a wall right next to the homeowner
that’s actually going to call that particular home, you know,
their home for them and their families. I think that was one of the most
rewarding experiences, you know, I could have had. CARLA: We couldn’t
do it without them. It’s a lot of hard work. So those kindnesses and love and
that support really means a lot. People are taking time out of
their lives to help my family– to help all the
families that are here. It’s overwhelming. – You can actually see progress
that’s being built and the breaking of the
cycle of individuals, where you can have an individual
family that could be in a rental home forever and ever and will
never be able to break that cycle because of the cost
of rental units today. And to be able to give them
a hand up through Habitat, is a really, really
rewarding experience. VOLUNTEER: Move that back. We can get that by nailing. – Together, we’re going
to help 150 families. And that’s going to leave a
legacy for generations to come. We’re not doing it for profit. We’re doing it so that
these homes last forever. And the reason our homes are
better is cause there’s love inside there every nail, and
there’s love inside every door. And there’s caring in there. – What it means is that I don’t
have to worry about the future, and I don’t have to worry about
where my son Ethan is going to live. I know that he’s
going to live with me. And I’m going to be able to
continue to care for him in his own home, which will give him
a much richer and fuller life, as it should be. – You can’t emphasize enough how
important it is to have barrier free houses for families
with accessibility needs. – I was surprised to
learn that actually, Habitat for Humanity sells the
homes to the families at market value, and they don’t charge
interest for the homes. – That’s fantastic. But the work isn’t over yet. There’s still a long way to go
until these houses are complete. On average, it takes them about
eight months to complete a home. – For more information
on Habitat for Humanity, the Carter Work Project, or how
to volunteer, go to habitat.ca

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