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Habitat for Humanity's mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Our vision is of a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.
Lace up your runners and hit the pavement on behalf of Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver, a BMO Vancouver Marathon national charity.
In January 2016 one of our dedicated Board members took part in a Habitat Global Village trip to Guatemala, building homes for hardworking, low-income Partner Families.
We caught up with Richard to hear about his experience.
Interview with Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver Board Director Richard Foster
Why did you decide to Participate in a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip?
Richard: I decided to participate in a Global Village expedition through Habitat for a number of reasons. Although I recently became a director with the Vancouver chapter, I made this decision independently of that role. I have always wanted to do something like this, Guatemala was an interesting country that I had never had the opportunity to visit and my daughter had the ability to join me and being her last year of high school, I was not confident that another opportunity would come along any time soon.
How did you find the application process?
The process was fairly easy, the briefings and support was tremendous all around in helping us get prepared for the trip. We had excellent Leaders (thanks Nick) with lots of past experience so at no time did we really feel unprepared.
Who did you get to meet during your time in Guatemala?
The trip down was long and really a great chance to get to know our fellow volunteers, many who had done a trip previously. At the Habitat office in Panajachel we got to meet the two deserving families we were going to be building for. A very humbling and rewarding experience for sure.
What was the work like?
The work was hard and yet the feeling amongst the group was always upbeat and gratifying. Our group was divided in two and both groups had very different sites and starting points. Every night back at our hotel we would gather and share stories of the day and always ate together.
What was the accommodation like?
The accommodations were pleasant, the food diverse enough and the scenery always an eye full.
What advice would you give to someone considering taking part in a Habitat Global Village trip?
I cannot say enough about my experience and frankly cannot wait to go again. When I compare it to all the “all-inclusive sit by the pool” vacations I have had in my life, I can only say I would trade them all for this experience time and time again, hands down.
Thank you to Habitat for Humanity for allowing my daughter and I to have such a rewarding experience with your organization.
All donations made to Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver include a tithe to help build Habitat homes throughout the world.
It is the start of a great official partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Green Coast Rubbish!
We would like to thank Green Coast Rubbish’s support in Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver’s deconstruction program, which directs building waste from the landfill, creating valuable opportunities for volunteers and raising money to build affordable housing in Greater Vancouver. This deconstruction program is good for the home owners because it provides them a unique opportunity to benefit the environment and give back to the community as they begin home renovations and demolitions.
Thank you Green Coast Rubbish for being such a wonderful partner in our deconstruction program! We are very excited to be working with you! Our sustainable ways will benefit the environment by reducing the amount we contribute to landfills. Deconstruction work is done by Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver’s deconstruction team consisting of individuals looking for valuable skills training and connection with others, which are led by the deconstruction manager, Christina Radvak.
In February, Green Coast Rubbish will donate a full kitchen when working on a project with Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver. Materials such as cabinetry, vanities, doors, flooring, and even framing lumber can be deconstructed and salvaged, which will also be resold through Habitat’s social enterprise, the ReStore.
We had a wonderful time working with Green Coast Rubbish! Thank you for contributing to the community and being part of our team!
For more information about Green Coast Rubbish and our partnership, click on the link below:
For more information on Habitat for Humanity and donating to the ReStores click in the link below:
Dear Habitat supporters:
The Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver (HFHGV) is pleased to announce the hiring of Dennis Coutts as our CEO effective January 2016. Dennis comes to HFHGV from Regina where he was most recently the Executive Director of Regina Palliative Care. Prior to this Dennis served as the CEO for Habitat for Humanity Regina (HFHR) from 2007 to 2013, building over 60 homes and raising close to $20M in donation. Under his leadership HFHR transformed from an under-performing affiliate to one recognized nationally as a high performing affiliate.
Dennis lead teams to Habitat Global Village outreach in El Salvador, Honduras, Portugal and is planning Macedonia in 2016.
Other awards for HFHR:
Habitat for Humanity Regina Inc. most improved affiliate in Canada 2008Habitat for Humanity Regina Inc. most significant growth in class in Canada 2010Habitat for Humanity Regina Inc. best of class in Canada 2011Habitat for Humanity Regina Inc. International Support Award 5 years running.
Prior to living in Regina, Dennis lived in BC for 22 years. He has been married to his wife, Wendy, for 44 years, had 3 grown children and 4 granddaughters.
We are excited to have Dennis join our team, bringing his passion and experience with Habitat to the partner families, volunteers, donors, staff and members of our affiliate.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver Board of Directors.
Congratulations to our two new Partner Families! On August 20th, 2015, neighbors, volunteers, community partners, habitat staff and the Board of Directors gathered for a special key dedication ceremony at Government Street in Burnaby, BC.
The ceremony provided a great opportunity to not only welcome the families to their new homes, but also to recognize the incredible efforts of the community, volunteers and valued donors who dedicated time, elbow grease and funding to make these homes a success.
Ali Hersi, one of HFHGV’s new Partner Families, extended his deepest gratitude to the volunteers and Family Services Manager, Clare Davey. In a heartfelt speech, he recalled, “[my children] never forgot to ask me when we’re moving in, every single day and now I can tell them we’re moving in today.” Ali and his family are looking forward to meeting their new neighbors and his children are excited to make new friends – an added bonus to their new home on Government Street.
These are the 3rd and 4th families to be the second owners of homes in the Government Street community that provides safe, affordable housing to 27 families. HFHGV is committed to providing a ‘hand up’ with its homeownership model of housing families and reinvesting their contributions into building more homes for those in need. Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver is thrilled to welcome and support its newest Partner Families. As one family succeeds and moves on, a new family begins their Habitat journey.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver was thrilled to partner with Miele Canada in the deconstruction of their Yaletown showroom as part of their expansion/renovation plans. In support of the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan and their goal to reduce solid waste by 50% of 2008 levels HFHGV has been actively seeking out opportunities to educate and train volunteers and staff on Deconstruction practises. The Miele deconstruction allowed us to focus on one of the cities four highest priority action items under their “Zero Waste” component. “This action focuses on policies to prevent wood and other materials from being sent to the landfill or incinerator through a process that takes apart buildings and salvages materials, rather than a traditional demolition method.”
This also provided our team of international students, ReStore Managers, tradesman from a local construction company, volunteers, and our Deconstruction Team Leader with education on the ins and outs of the deconstruction and reuse industry. It provided valuable experience and education helping us create experts to support and contribute to the Green Jobs Initiative. Our primary focus for this project was education and materials recovery.
“What is A Green Job? This plan borrows from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) definition, which describes green jobs as those that “contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality… reduce energy, materials and water consumption… decarbonize the economy and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.” Job sectors range from clean technology and green buildings to education and materials recovery. Green jobs also include jobs in traditional sectors with businesses that have significantly greener processes or operations than industry standards. The GCAP has added local food to the UNEP definition, as growing an urban food system is central to the Greenest City vision for a sustainable economy. Local food is defined here as all food and beverage (including wine) produced and consumed within British Columbia.”
Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver has the unique opportunity of not only having a strong volunteer base but also a network of retail locations that sell reclaimed building supplies. Thus allowing us to effectively remove and resell the components reclaimed from the deconstruction. We successfully diverted 8 kitchens, tables, stools and cabinetry from landfill. Funds raised from the sale of these goods will help build decent, affordable homes for hardworking families in our community who would not otherwise be able to own a home.
We would like to thank the amazing team at Miele:
Kelly Lam VP Marketing
Selby Kostuik Designer
Scott McIvor Project Manager
Lossen Zimmerman Centre Supervisor
On Monday July 13th 2015, Richmond City Council approved our new build project on 8180 Ash Street.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver is thrilled to announce that we are one step closer to providing 6 new homes for 12 Partner Families. This approval gives us the green light to begin the planning process for our build; this includes securing build permits for the fall.
The ability for us to succeed and move forward was due largely to the incredible donation of 18 months of time, expertise and services from Abbarch Architecture and PWL Partnership Landscape Architects. They provided design and numerous amendments to the project to garner final approval.
Thank you Abbarch and PWL!
We also owe a huge thank you to all of our volunteers, donors and friends of Habitat Greater Vancouver for your continued patience and support, we look forward to seeing you on the build site over the next year!
*Details of the start of building activity will be forthcoming in the near future.
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