Women Build Project Comox Valley Close to Wrapping Up Piercy Avenue Project By Christmas, But Volunteers Are Still Needed

December 13, 2013

After months of planning, fundraising, volunteer recruiting, and hard work, the Women Build component of Habitat for Humanity’s build project in Courtenay handed over the keys for its second Piercy Avenue duplex to the new owners.

The ceremony, held on October 26, 2013, was an emotional one, the realization of a dream that saw first light a mere 18 months earlier when Habitat Vancouver Island North presented the idea of a Women Build project to Cristi Sacht, owner of Elemental Energy Advisors, an energy-efficiency consulting company based in Courtenay. Sacht, who subsequently took on the role of Women Build coordinator, loved the idea of women helping women better their lives.

“People were absolutely ecstatic about becoming a part of this,” says Sacht. “The fact that it was the first Women Build in the entire province and we did it in our little town of Courtenay is absolutely fabulous.

When the initial goal of building one Habitat for Humanity home in Courtenay evolved into a three-duplex endeavour, Sacht realized she’d need an army of women to tackle the project. Nine teams, comprising six to 40 women each, have contributed thousands of volunteer hours since the project’s inception. Over $60,000 was raised, and monetary contributions have been complemented by in-kind donations of service and supplies.

The three-duplex project at 1580 Piercy Avenue is designed to give six local working families a hand up to own their own home. Families who receive a home must demonstrate need, have children, and spend 500 hours giving ‘sweat equity’ to build their home. In return, they own a home with no down payment and a no-interest mortgage through Habitat for Humanity.

Sporting their signature black overalls, pink hard hats, and pink shirts, Women Build teams worked on the duplexes from foundation to finishing. However, there was no shortage of supportive men on-site to help build or guide them through the inevitable rough patches. Some companies even donated entire crews of men to unite in the effort.

“It isn’t about excluding men — it’s about involving and empowering women,” points out Sacht, who adds that generations of women have taken part in the build. “My girlfriend, her daughter, and her mom have built houses and been a part of major renovation projects. That’s just the kind of girls they are.”

Four of the six families have taken possession of their new homes. Volunteers, both individual and corporate, are still needed to help complete the remaining two units. Landscaping and fencing the property will resume next spring, as will driveway paving. To volunteer, please call Habitat Vancouver Island North at 250.334.3777 or visit www.habitatnorthisland.com.

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