EDMONTON- Construction on the largest Habitat for Humanity build in Canada is underway in Edmonton.
Over the next two and a half years, 64 families will call Neufeld Landing in the Rutherford neighbourhood home.
“You see so many families come from some very difficult situations, and once they’re in a Habitat home suddenly you see hope, you see some financial stability,” said volunteer accountant Don Neufeld, whom the development is named after.
Over the past 20 years, Neufeld has banked more than 15,000 volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity Edmonton, which adds up to about seven years of full-time work. So when it came to naming the largest build the organization has ever done, Habitat for Humanity’s president says the decision was an easy one.
“We build our homes for families with volunteers,” said Alfred Nikolai, “And so it made absolute sense to name (this complex) after a volunteer. And then it made absolute sense to name it after the volunteer that has given us, by far, the most hours.”
Thirty-two families have already been selected to live in the complex, with more to be selected in the fall. Each family must complete 500 volunteer hours, or ‘sweat equity,’ as the down payment for their home.
One family eager to move in is the Mahammoodally family. The Mahammoodallys moved to Canada from Mauritius four years ago and are excited to have a home to call their own.
“No words to describe it, you know, because we have a house of our own. This community is very nice,” said Ibne Mahammoodally.
Ibne’s eight-year-old son Jahad couldn’t work on site because of his age, so instead volunteered at his school to do his part for his family’s down payment.
“I help (my teacher) in the gym. I help him… set out the books,” Jahad said Friday afternoon at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new development.
Jahad says he’s very excited to soon be moving into his brand new home with his two siblings, mom and dad.
“I always wanted a house.”
The first 16 families should be able to move into their homes by Christmas.
With files from Shannon Greer, Global News.