From left to right: Jolene Verboom of Robbins & Co., Jasmen Christoph and Jakob Christoph of Christoph Real Estate Group, Jay Dzuba and Daryl Robbins of Robbins & Co. standing in front of the Habitat homes being built on 1330 Lake Trail Road in Courtenay.

November 22 is National Housing Day, a day where we recognize the profound impact that Canada’s affordable housing crisis is having in our communities. With an 11-unit affordable housing project underway in Campbell River and a 10-unit project in Courtenay, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (Habitat VIN) is one of the nonprofits working towards a solution, and two local businesses have partnered to support them in their efforts.

Christoph Real Estate Group and Robbins and Company, CPAs have pledged to match every donation to Habitat until December 31st, up to $5,000. That means the nonprofit has the opportunity to raise an additional $10,000 towards their affordable homeownership program by the end of the year.

According to the 2018 Comox Valley Vital Signs Report, 45% of renter households in the Comox Valley spend 30% or more of their income on housing, the amount considered unaffordable by BC Housing. A lack of decent and affordable housing options has meant that people in the community are struggling to make ends meet, often while living in sub-standard housing.

“As we mark another National Housing Day, we recognize that we won’t succeed without the continued support of the community, other non-profit organizations, and the private sector,” said Pat McKenna, executive director for Habitat VIN. “That’s why we are thrilled to have the support of these two community-minded businesses. We know our supporters are more inclined to give when their impact will be doubled.”

McKenna has found partnership to be key to alleviating the affordable housing crisis. In addition to working with the private sector, Habitat has found ways to collaborate with other like-minded nonprofits. They are a member agency with both the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness and the Campbell River Coalition to End Homelessness.

Based on a partnership between the family, the community, volunteers and the private sector, Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to help build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership. Habitat’s program helps bridge the gap between social and rental housing and market homeownership, providing an opportunity for families that would otherwise have no chance to own their own home. Habitat homeowners pay for their homes, through an affordable mortgage that is never more than 30 percent of their income.

“The community knows that we always need volunteers, but they aren’t as aware of our need for monetary support. To build an affordable home, we need to buy land, hire certified carpenters and pay for building supplies,” explained McKenna. “These two large projects will significantly impact the lives of 21 families and more than 50 children, but they require a total investment of 4.2 million.”

“We appreciate more than ever the importance of access to affordable housing and the opportunity to enter the real estate market as an investment into your future and as a place of security for your family,” explained Jakob Christoph, owner of Christoph Real Estate Group. “Home is where love resides, memories are created, and friends and family belong. We want the whole community to join us in supporting this incredible cause to help local families build a home for their future.”

“This is our community and we try to make it better by being here. We feel that Habitat for Humanity shares the same values, and we are excited to support their two build projects,” added Daryl Robbins of Robbins and Company. “Two dollars is better than one!”

To learn more about Habitat VIN’s current projects, and to make a donation that will be matched, visit habitatnorthisland.com.

Cady Corman

Marketing and Communications Manager, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North