On May 22, 2020 Habitat for Humanity Canada held its virtual annual general meeting, which included
celebrating the achievements of local Habitats. Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (Habitat VIN) was one of ten Canadian Habitat affiliates recognized with a national award. They received the Housing Innovation Award for employing new, improved and innovative cost-effective construction technologies.

In 2019, Habitat VIN built homes in partnership with eight families, a 400% growth from their historical
average. In the past, Habitat VIN typically built one building at a time, usually a duplex, in one community at a time. Now Habitat plans and builds multi-unit subdivisions. They reached this new benchmark by expanding their focus to concurrent developments of larger properties in multiple communities. Their current projects, both which they hope to complete by the end of 2020, include a 10-unit development on 1330 Lake Trail Road in Courtenay and an 11-unit development on 477 Hilchey Road in Campbell River.

Thinking differently about the roles of Habitat staff, contractors, and volunteers also contributed to
Habitat VIN’s increased capacity to build.

“Leveraging skilled trades frees up our qualified staff to build volunteer capacity through training and
mentoring,” explained Logan Ronhovde, Habitat VIN’s project manager. “By honing our volunteer’s
skills and partnering with local contractors, we can serve more families faster. Volunteerism, partnership, and community-building remain the heartbeat of Habitat; finding ways to deepen each team member’s impact has been the key to our growth.”

The Housing Innovation Award was also awarded in recognition of Habitat VIN’s commitment to ustainable building, something they owe to the guidance and support of their many community partners, including The Canadian Home Builders Association, Nelson Roofing, Zsiros Construction, Island  eroBarrier, and SIGA. The nonprofit credits Elemental Energy Advisors for helping them develop a volunteer-tailored build approach that consistently meets the BC Building Code Energy STEP 3, and recently achieved building envelope airtightness consistent with STEP Code 5.

Sustainable building doesn’t only have an environmental impact, it contributes to Habitat’s mission by helping homeowner families build financial stability.

“Constructing these homes with greater energy efficiency decreases long term operating and maintenance
costs,” said Ronhovde, “providing our homeowners savings month-on-month, year-on-year for the life of the home.”

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North’s current projects and upcoming plans, visit habitatnorthisland.com.

Cady Corman

Marketing and Communications Manage, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North