Brock volunteers needed for Habitat build

Brock University is looking for faculty and staff willing to roll up their sleeves to make a difference in the lives of two local families.

A 12-person team from the University will join forces with Habitat for Humanity Niagara to help build a two-unit semi-detached house on Bellevue Street in Niagara Falls. Participants can choose to frame walls on Wednesday, May 29 or paint walls and trim on Wednesday, July 24, each from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No previous experience is required as training and professional direction will be provided.

Brock has been partnering with Habitat for Humanity on housing builds for five years locally and eight years internationally.

Erin Plyley, Case Manager for Brock University’s Student Accessibility Services, helped paint walls as part of Habitat for Humanity Niagara’s build in December 2017.

“It’s a great learning experience,” said Erin Plyley, Case Manager for Student Accessibility Services, who volunteered with Brock’s team in December 2017. “The Habitat team was so encouraging and the group of employees I volunteered with were so much fun. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in one day.”

In addition to working alongside volunteers and professional tradespeople, participants will likely also work with the homeowners, who often contribute sweat equity into the construction of their new house.

“I loved meeting the homeowners and learning more about their stories,” said Plyley. “It’s rewarding seeing first-hand the impact of your volunteer efforts.”

Habitat for Humanity Niagara selects families who are ready for the responsibility and challenges of homeownership, but do not qualify for a bank mortgage. In addition to other requirements, homeowners must volunteer 500 hours with Habitat in exchange for purchasing a house without a down payment and with an interest-free mortgage geared toward their income.

The semi-detached house Brock volunteers will be framing and painting will provide two large, local families with safe, comfortable and stable housing. It will allow Yaqub and Nimo to exchange overcrowded rental conditions for an affordable and comfortable place to live with their seven children. Home ownership will also provide Mohamed and Sabida with the opportunity to build equity and a positive future for their eight children.

Staff and faculty interested in being part of the Brock Habitat team are asked to submit an expression of interest online by Friday, April 12. Interested parties will then be entered into a lottery for the available team spots. Successful participants will be notified the week of Monday, April 15.

Each participant must raise a minimum of $400 towards the Brock team’s $6,000 goal. All funds will directly support the Habitat build. Volunteers must also provide their own transportation to Niagara Falls.

Habitat for Humanity promotes home ownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty.

Over the past 26 years, Habitat Niagara has served 71 families, including 258 children. By the end of 2019, the charity expects to complete construction on its 65th home in Niagara.

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