Want to build a house? Habitat for Humanity seeking volunteers

FERGUS – With plans for a 32-unit stacked townhouse development in Fergus well underway, Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington is seeking volunteers to help with the build.

Exact dates are not known, but organizers hope to begin construction this fall, said the agency’s volunteer coordinator Sarah Dermer.

And when that happens, volunteers of all ages, with and without building experience, will be needed.

The organizations does need volunteers with some experience to be crew leaders, Dermer said, noting retired tradespeople would be perfect for that role.

But volunteers do all sorts of jobs on build sites, from cutting wood and framing walls, to installing drywall and cupboards and exterior siding.

And to the person at the top of the ladder, the person holding the bottom of the ladder has the most important job in the world.

“I’ve been hearing two pieces from volunteers,” said Dermer, who started her role in the summer and has yet to be on a build herself.

“The first is that the volunteer experience is totally empowering. Maybe you don’t know how to do anything and then you learn how to do some things and you feel amazing.

“The second is engagement with the people moving into those homes. We’re creating a tight community for these people, and the opportunity for stability and financial security.

“The day we hand over the keys to a family is very emotional.”

Anyone interested in volunteering on the build can email Dermer at volunteer@habitatgw.ca.

“We have such a diverse group of volunteers. Some are young high school students fulfilling their 40 volunteer hours and others are retired folks, seeking meaningful ways to enhance their lives post-career,” Dermer explains. 

While there are almost 200 volunteers currently connected with Habitat GW, Dermer is always seeking to increase that number. 

“There is a never-ending supply of work needing to get done to ensure our vision of a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live can be achieved,” she said.

“So, the more volunteers we have, the better.”

As well as volunteering on the build, Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers in its ReStores and kitchen salvage team.

ReStore jobs include customer service, cleaning donated items and stocking shelves.

The salvage team goes to people’s homes and takes out their old kitchen cupboards and cabinets to be sold at the ReStore.

Volunteers must go through orientation and watch some safety videos, Dermer said. This can be done now so volunteers will be ready when the job site is ready for them.

Dermer said she appreciates it’s hard to commit to volunteering when days, times and other details aren’t known.

“It’s really an expression of interest I need right now,” she said. “I’d like to get as many people on deck as possible.”