Two Nanaimo families will be living in new energy-efficient homes before the end of the year, thanks in part to a big donation from Gordon Food Service.
The company donated $100,000 to Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island to help build a duplex in Nanaimo.
The money was raised by Gordon Food Service staff through fundraisers and special events. The company has committed to help build homes in each of its eight market areas across Canada.
Teresa Pring, Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island executive director, said both families will be from Nanaimo and will each contribute 500 hours of work toward construction of the $500,000 project, which will incorporate high-efficiency lighting, energy star windows and appliances, plus passive solar design features such as orienting the building to take advantage of solar energy.
The design and features will combine to keep maintenance and operating costs low.
"The families live at the poverty level because of their low-paying jobs," Pring said. "They struggle to get their bills paid and make ends meet and feed their families, but they earn too much to qualify for subsidized housing."
Pring said saving for a downpayment under those conditions is nearly impossible, but home ownership gives them a legacy they can pass along to their families.
"It's something that they never could have imagined," Pring said. "Most of the families that we see would never have a hope of home ownership."
The project location and groundbreaking ceremony date will be announced by the end of March or early April.
Families have yet to be selected for this year's project.
Families interested in applying for the project can register to attend an information session, to be hosted April 10 and 14.
"We'll be looking for at least two families from those two meeting dates, so interested families have to attend those meetings," Pring said.
To register, please call the Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island office at 250-758-8078.
Another $95,000 is still needed to complete the project.
"We're well on our way," Pring said. "This was a huge boost for us."
To make donations online or learn more about Habitat for Humanity and its programs, please visit the organization's website at www.habitatmvi.org.