Photo by Chung Chow
New community venture done with heart, co-operation and lots of sweat equity began in earnest Tuesday.
Habitat for Humanity’s first project in Richmond kicked off their official start with the dignitaries who gave impetus to the project from the province and the city. The leaders of Habitat for Humanity, leaders from community corporations and workers ready to swing a hammer all watched as the Rai family talked of their need for an affordable, accessible home for their three children and themselves. It needs to be wheelchair accessible because 17-year-old Caleb, a Cambie secondary student, uses a motorized wheelchair to get around.Originally born able-bodied, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy has whittled away his motor skills.
When asked how long this project has been in the planning phase, Dennis Coutts, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Habitat for Humanity, said, “Three years, three years and then some.” He continued, “This is so exciting! We had another family going to join us but the mom didn’t get discharged in time. She had a baby the day before yesterday.”
Coutts explained that each of the six houses will have a secondary suite, resulting in 12 affordable housing units.
Richmond Centre South MLA and Speaker of the House, Linda Reid called Habitat for Humanity and the volunteers, “Glorious partners,” and spoke of the project building a neighbourhood, building a home, and building a family,” here in Richmond.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie, along with Coun. Linda McPhail and Coun. Chak Au, mentioned the city’s contribution in waving some of the costs. He spoke of the kind of city Richmond should be, the diversity Canadians aim for, “We want all ages, all income categories, including all income groups to live here to be a part of our great community.”
Reid said, “This is what we should be doing as a community; coming together.”
Always looking for more volunteers and donations of skilled workers, materials, and money, Coutts said of Tuesday’s launch, “This is what we live for. This is great! We need everybody to come on out. Let’s make this project a celebration of life.”
Reid, said of the project, “This has been a labour of love. It’s a dream come true to build homes for a community with the community.”