Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie & Area (HFHSSMA), with the approval of Habitat Canada, will expand their service area to the entire Algoma District.
Since 2002, HFHSSMA has served families from Sault Ste. Marie to as far as Heyden in the north and Echo Bay in the east. While this area covers roughly 70% of Algoma’s population, the non-profit has recognized that there is a need for safe, decent, and affordable housing across all of Algoma.
Compared to Sault Ste. Marie, households in the Algoma District have a lower average income, spend more of their income on shelter, and have more households in need of major repairs.
“Providing families with appropriate and affordable housing is what Habitat exists to do. Since the pandemic began, we have seen an increase in the number of applications to our homeownership program. Access to housing is only going to become more challenging with current market conditions. Expanding our territory to the whole Algoma District allows us the opportunity to provide families outside Sault Ste. Marie with affordable housing which is more important now than ever before.”Frank Bentrovato, Habitat Board Chair.
The Sault is uniquely located along the TransCanada highway, putting HFHSSMA in a good position to help meet the need for housing in surrounding communities and to serve populations in rural locations that traditionally have more barriers to housing, such as newcomers, seniors, single mothers, and people with accessibility needs. Serving these communities will allow Habitat to help those who are facing intersectional and systemic issues related to housing.
The non-profit has already begun developing relationships with towns throughout Algoma and encourages any communities interested in learning more about Habitat to reach out.
Habitat is also exploring opportunities for seasonal pop-up ReStore locations in the East and North.
“We hope that this expansion will help us raise awareness of our mission, engage more sponsors and donors, bring the joy of the ReStore to more folks across the district, and ultimately help more families build strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.”
Chelsey Foucher, Fundraising & Marketing Coordinator.
How can I help?
A chapter system will be a key element of Habitat’s expansion. Chapters will be made up of service-oriented volunteers who agree to champion the construction of a Habitat Home (or homes) outside of Sault Ste. Marie by fundraising and forming partnerships in their own communities. The organization is also considering a renovations and repairs program.
Habitat is seeking support from individuals and businesses throughout the Algoma District, including volunteers, donations of rental spaces for pop-up ReStores, vehicle dealerships interested in donating, and building contractors and supply stores interested in becoming sponsors or donors. Those interested in starting a Chapter can contact the organization for more information.
Habitat is also recruiting motivated and experienced individuals interested in joining their volunteer Board of Directors this June. In particular, the organization is seeking those who have a professional accounting designation or a degree in business. The Board meets six times per year and each Director contributes to a minimum of one committee, playing an active role in fundraising and public relations activities. Interested individuals are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to Katie Blunt, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The non-profit has recently completed a semi-detached build on Wellington Street West and is breaking ground on their fully accessible Blake Avenue build this spring. If you would like to donate to or sponsor an upcoming build, please contact Chelsey Foucher, Fundraising & Marketing Coordinator, at email@example.com.