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Thousands gather to celebrate at Habitat Site

OTTAWA, Ontario, August 16, 2002 — An estimated 2,000 volunteers witnessed eight families accepting keys and taking possession of their new homes today with best wishes from Habitat for Humanity volunteers who worked side-by-side with them over the past six days to build their homes.

Today's dedication ceremony, attended by the families and their volunteer friends, celebrated the building of eight houses in six days with purely volunteer labour. It was all part of Habitat for Humanity's largest annual blitz build, the Ed Schreyer Work Project, held in Ottawa for the first time.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), sponsor of today's "Home Dedication Day" ceremony at the Habitat build site, marked the occasion when CMHC officials presented each family with a customized CMHC Homeowner's Manual.

Nelson Merizzi, General Manager of CMHC's Ontario Business Centre who has personally volunteered at previous builds in other parts of Canada said "We are honoured to be a partner with community-based organizations like Habitat for Humanity who provide inspiration to us all by helping Canadian families realize the pride of home-ownership one affordable house at a time."

Merizzi continues, "We are pleased to offer all families of the 2002 Habitat for Humanity projects across the country a copy of CMHC's Homeowner's Manual like we have presented here today. Homebuilders often provide their clients with our Homeowner's Manual as a reference tool, and in this case, the community is the homebuilder."

Katalin Sheskay, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity NCR said, "We are delighted with the generous support given to us by CMHC. Without their help, this marvelous dedication day would not be possible. Our goal is to give people a hand up not a handout. Our families have worked hard and long to get these keys, each investing over 500 hours of sweat equity."

"These eight houses are just the beginning", Sheskay continued."With the generous support of sponsors like CMHC, and the assistance of the citizens of Ottawa, our goal is to grow to building neighborhoods of 40 or more houses each year within the next five years."

"You can expect to hear from Habitat for Humanity NCR many times in the coming months and years. We will be there, asking for and counting on you for continuing financial support. Together we can improve the critical housing crunch in this city for the many more deserving families who are waiting for a chance to share in the good fortune of today's proud homeowners."

Habitat for Humanity Canada (HFHC), founded in 1985, is an independent, non-profit housing program dedicated to the elimination of substandard housing in Canada. Affiliates are active building homes in 53 communities in 10 provinces. To date, more than 500 homes have been built across the country.

For more information please contact:
Katalin Sheskay, Executive Director
Habitat for Humanity - NCR
(613) 863-0663
Andre Robichaud
District Manager
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(613) 748-5122

News source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)


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