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Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North hopes to have the first family move in to their new Courtenay home very soon.
"We're hoping to put our first family in at the end of February," said Deb Roth, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North executive director.
The three-duplex project at 1580 Piercy Ave. is designed to give six local working families a hand up to own their own home. Families who receive a home must demonstrate need, have children and spend 500 hours giving 'sweat equity' to build their home. In return they own a home with no down payment, and a no-interest mortgage through Habitat for Humanity.
The project is Habitat's biggest ever in the Comox Valley.
Roth notes crews are still working on the second duplex but finishing the first one is their real priority at the moment.
"For the unit that we're finishing, we finally got our hydro on and they're doing the finishing touches before they get the inspector to come in," she said, adding the second unit, which is part of the first duplex, is nearing completion as well.
"And then, after that's done, then they'll focus on the second one (duplex), doing the interior so it's the drywall, everything else has to start going on the inside of the second duplex, the middle duplex."
The third duplex, closest to the road, will be completed last.
Roth noted work has been a bit slower at the build site lately with three-day-per-week schedules. But "we're going to pick up and do full schedules when it comes to, probably the end of March," she added.
Meanwhile, Roth says fundraising has been quite steady, noting the Women Build teams in particular have been outstanding.
"The Winged Women Warriors from the base, they just, you know, they keep showing up at the build site and they keep on bringing more money," says Roth as she gives an example of the hard work put in by teams. "So they're just doing a phenomenal job — and that kind of support is what sustains us and encourages us too.
"And then we have some other teams that are going to come into play when we start doing that last duplex and finishing the middle one — we have some teams that were set up through the JetFM, under their umbrella."
Local musician Joey Clarkson and Habitat have also been encouraging Comox Valley students to join in on The House the Kids Built project, where Valley youth plan to raise enough money to complete one of the half-duplex units, which costs about $100,000.
The team will pair up with the Comox Valley RCMP, according to Roth.
"Hopefully it'll help develop stronger relationships between the RCMP and the youth in the community," she added, noting students seem enthusiastic about the project.
Habitat is still looking for help with fundraising and volunteers to help physically build the homes.
Roth noted local businesses have done team builds for past Habitat projects, and she hopes some more businesses will join the project in the spring.
"They have groups to come in and do a team build and that helps with fundraising, but it also helps with volunteer and exposure," she said. "We've had quite a few in the past who have been involved, so we're looking to reconnect with them and for more businesses to come in and do team building days."
For more information on the project, visit www.habitatnorthisland.com.