Through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region, Bill Blampied has seen big changes.
“A lot of people lived in crowded apartments, substandard basements, and some lived in areas where there were drug dealers,” said Blampied. “Then they move to far better living conditions, where it’s a nice neighbourhood. You can see the change within a year. The children’s grades improve, the family’s health improves.”
So far, Habitat for Humanity NCR has helped dozens of families with 37 houses in Ottawa and Gatineau. Their latest project, a completely renovated home in the city’s Bayshore area, will offer even more benefits.
Thanks to a $25,000 grant from Home Depot, Habitat for Humanity NCR is giving a house at 14 Kevin St. an eco-friendly retrofit.
One of the first houses built by Habitat NCR in the late 1990s, the house recently became available after the children grew up and moved out, and the mother downsized to a smaller home.
“We’re putting in brand-new flooring, a brand-new kitchen, an energy efficient furnace and water heater and energy efficient windows. All of these things reduce heat loss in the house.”
The retrofit also includes adding insulation to the attic, insuring the foundation is well sealed and insulated and installing a composter in the backyard.
Energy savings are a great way to help a family, said Blampied.
In 100 countries around the world, Habitat for Humanity “helps people who are working poor and living in substandard housing improve their housing conditions and to give them a hand up, not a hand out,” said Blampied.
Families are required to do 500 hours of volunteer work in lieu of a down payment, he said. They then take on an interest-free mortgage at 80 per cent of the assessed value of the house.
The house is slated for completion in January.