3 Habitat for Humanity affiliates consolidating in Saskatchewan

The province’s Habitat for Humanity organizations in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina are merging together.

Inaugural board chair for Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan Bruce Anderson said merger talks started prior to the pandemic and was really about an opportunity.

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“It was the opportunity to expand our scope and our presence and our impact provincially to ultimately build more houses, more affordable houses for families,” he said.

“In terms of active chapters now, I think we’ve got four or five … but three chapters for sure, I would say Nipawin, Yorkton and Moose Jaw and it comes and goes.

“They got support through the previous affiliates and now they’ll get support through the Saskatchewan affiliate, so we basically move from three regional affiliates to one provincial affiliate.”

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Both Saskatoon and Prince Albert continue to have administrative offices with the organization’s head office in Regina. Meanwhile, work is underway to create a merger plan to be implemented over at least a year.

“Changes are going to take a bit of time but the merger was official as of Jan 1. We are incorporated and the three other affiliate organizations have been wound up and sort of closed,” Anderson said.

Read more: Saskatoon city council votes to lower taxes on affordable housing projects

Although Anderson said the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact, 31 construction projects are underway in Saskatchewan.

“It’s a little bit of a challenge figuring out the exact numbers but the pandemic has not affected the number of homes that we’re building. It’s affected perhaps the timing of those homes,” he said.

“The exciting part for us is that with this new merger, we’re hoping that we’ll build not only the 21 homes this year but we’ll continue to grow that number with years to come.

“The precautions we’re taking to build sites include things like physical distancing that’s required, we have safety conditions around face coverings and also hand-washing, disinfecting activities.”

Officials said the move to a provincially-based Habitat organization has also happened in Alberta, Ontario and Manitoba.

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