Foundations of a Home

Habitat for Humanity Building its First Single Family Cold Lake Home

Volunteers, from all over the country, have been working through the hot summer sun to build the first single-family Habitat for Humanity home in Cold Lake. Northern Development Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, Lazlo Bajzar, says thanks to generous community support and donations, the organization has started building its first Cold Lake home.

“This is the first single-family detached home Habitat for Humanity has built in Cold Lake,” confirms Bajzar. The organization took over an apartment building, Spirit Arms, “we took it over at a certain stage, renovated what we needed to and finished the project.” Along with the apartments and the home, Habitat for Humanity has five empty lots next to the home they are building. The lots are planned to hold duplexes on them, simply to increase the number of families Habitat for Humanity is able to assist in Cold Lake. In the Northern zone, Bajzar says the organization makes quite an impact, “we strive to build 100 homes every year. Depending on budgetary constraints, we do whatever we can; we build between 50 and 100, every year.”

It’s a common misconception that the homes are free, “families must pay a mortgage to live in the home,” explains Bajzar. “These houses are a hand-up – not a hand-out. The families do pay a mortgage to Habitat to Humanity for their house. There is a process by which families become partner families.”

Most volunteers are out-of-towners and the program is a great way to experience Canada. “They sign up through Canada Builds program, through Habitat for Humanity, and they go online and choose where their destination is. They all signed up to come to Cold Lake.” Bajzar explains there are 10 people on the regular crew who are from out-of-town and then there are always local volunteers who join in throughout the process. Volunteers range from 18-65 years old.”It’s a specialized trip to come from wherever you’re coming from. You pay for you flights to get out here; it’s not the cheapest way to volunteer,” Bajzar laughs that you really have to have a passion for Habitat for Humanity to volunteer.

“When you get on-site, we’re willing to teach everybody all the skills you need to participate in any of the projects that we do,” Bajzar says the training process is very hands-on and anyone can learn while contributing. “Today we’re using ICF to build our basement, no one here has used ICF to build a basement before. By the end of this week, not only did they put the footings in, but they put in most of the foundation.”

The group of volunteers are always welcoming a free lunch, coffee, beverages and/or snacks, laughs Bajzar. “The community has been great, we’ve had quite a few people and businesses stop by with lunch for the crew.” Working within a tight non-profit budget and the fact that the volunteers have to pay their own way through the experience, it’s little treats like a coffee that can really make the difference. You can see the progress on the house or pop by with a treat for the crew at 4910 54th avenue, Cold Lake. They usually break for lunch at 12:00pm and wrap up for the day around 3:00pm.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity or to donate your time or funds, visit Habitat for Humanity online.