Get to know us...
What sets Habitat for Humanity apart…
Habitat for Humanity began in 1976. It is an organization that originated in the United States and has grown to encompass over 100 countries around the world. Our founders, Millard and Linda Fuller believed in the idea of partnership housing and giving a hand up to those in need by working alongside them to build safe, decent and affordable houses. Habitat for Humanity Canada has over fifty-seven affiliate organizations across the country including one on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Our universal vision has remained the same: A world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.
Housing for All – We believe that access to safe, decent and affordable housing is a basic human need that should be available to all.
Human Dignity – We believe in the worth and dignity of every human being. We respect the people we serve and those who help us in this effort and recognize them as our greatest resource.
Faith In Action – We believe that faith is lived through action. We serve people of all faiths and beliefs in a spirit of justice and compassion.
Diversity and Inclusiveness – We believe there is a role for everyone committed to our vision, mission, values and we seek to enrich our organization through diversity.
Who we are.
Sunshine Coast was the smallest community to have a Habitat chapter when it was formed.
Our story begins in the early 2000s at a men’s church breakfast. “We were looking to do something for our community”, Gwen says. Ed, with his real estate background, was interested in housing. “Habitat was the only organization I had heard of that built homes alongside low income families and tailored their mortgage income to their income. It sounded like a nice organization.” With the support of the Living Faith Lutheran Church in Davis Bay, Ed did the necessary paperwork and the chapter was launched in 2004. The chapter bought some land on North Road in Gibsons for $75,000. “The first house was basically all built by volunteers — 20 to 30 people in all, with 10 or 12 guys working all the time,” says Ed. That’s not to say that the community wasn’t quick to support the project.
When the chapter started its second project, a duplex in Sechelt, Ed, still busy promoting Habitat wherever he could, gave his card to a plumber at a presentation he was making at a school. One day shortly afterward, 18 plumbers rolled up in their trucks and went to work plumbing the entire duplex. The man was Arnold Skei, and his company was Sechelt Plumbing.
As the chapter moved on to its next project, Habitat Village, on the Sunshine Coast Highway in Wilson Creek, more and more volunteers signed on. Gwen thumbs through a book with the names and phone numbers of all the volunteers she could call on for women’s work days. The women would install insulation and do the interior painting. It’s an impressive book. Meanwhile, Ed kept busy mining other sources of revenue for Habitat. He convinced local building supply companies to donate a playhouse kit to Habitat, which volunteers built (on Ed’s boat trailer) and raffled off. Canadian Tire donated a greenhouse kit, which was also raffled off. “But the main source of income for Habitat is always the ReStore,” Ed says.
Train in Trades!
Each year, the students from the Train in Trades program have helped raise the Habitat for Humanity village in Wilson Creek. This year, it was garden sheds for the backyards of every home that were crafted by the talented young apprentices-to-be.
Through the Train in Trades program, students can gain on the job training, while also earning credits toward their graduation and a post-secondary credential.
Ronnalee has a passion for community. She has a wealth of experience in public relations and fund development by virtue of initiating partnerships, planning events and securing financial support and resources to provide affordable housing and strengthening capacity of people to create locally-appropriate solutions that last.
Ronnalee is the founder of a Western Canada organization for developing high performing female leaders.
Under her leadership, Lilith Professional was expanded from eight participating companies in 2008 to 56 companies in 2019 with an emphasis on law, engineering, accounting and finance.
Ronnalee is a graduate of Leadership Calgary, past chair of Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta Communication Committee and past board member of Calgary Girls School. Ronnalee served as a board member for Future Generations under the leadership of the Honourable Flora MacDonald. Ronnalee is a certified mediator with the Legal Education Society of Alberta. Ronnalee serves on the board for Rotary Sechelt as Director of Projects. She is the proud mother of one grown son, Brady. Ronnalee loves spending time with her partner, Mark on local hiking and cycling trails and exploring the waters of the Sechelt Inlet by kayak.