ImageOur Guest speaker for September 22, 2011 was Ellen Frood, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Muskoka. Two of the biggest issues facing residents of Huntsville are poor wages and poor housing. Ellen was here to share her knowledge on how we could help with the two builds in Huntsville in 2012 by Habitat.

During the course of her presentation Ellen answered many of the questions involved with a project of this magnitude, from acquiring land, materials, financing and man power. She informed us how Habitat is the builder, the banker, the insurer and the friend. She explained how members of our club can participate not just financially but we can swing hammers and saw boards as well. She also explained some of the other positions that are required for a successful building, these include project manager, materials acquisition and volunteer co-ordinator just to mention a few. The selection process for a family to own a home was also very interesting and we were informed about the number of hours a family must give to their own home in order to receive one. Members of Habitat teach them how to budget their money first in order to qualify and secondly how to keep up their payments and how to maintain their new home so as to build equity in it for their family. How to keep their property neat and clean and properly cared for so as to contribute their part in their new community.

It was a very informative meeting with some great questions afterwards, like can these families sell their house, who gets first choice of it and any other restrictions? Knowing Habitat gets first choice means some other deserving family may also receive a home. One very important point is these homes are not given to the people but are paid for by the fortunate chosen family. Cost however are kept very reasonable by the many subsidized items that Habitat gets including some materials and labour.

I felt good about having Ellen in our midst and Habitat in our community. I hope we can give some time and energy to this project as well as a little money. 

Pictured with Ellen is our Chair of Administration and Co-ordinator of our Guest Speakers Dan Duke. Ellen was one of the first to purchase a Polar Bear for Polio Eradication for just $15.00. Thanks Ellen.