EDMONTON - Thousands of volunteers joined Habitat for Humanity's 34th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Canada to build 150 homes in celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary.
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter were slated to build alongside future homeowners in Edmonton and Winnipeg with additional projects taking place in communities across the country.
The first day of building kicked off July 10 and will continue through July 14. Projects during the week included 75 homes in Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, 25 homes in Winnipeg and 50 homes in territories and provinces across Canada.
"Rosalynn and I are pleased to be bringing together volunteers to build alongside families during this year's Carter Work Project," said Carter. "Housing affordability in Canada is at an all-time low. We are proud supporters of Habitat for Humanity and grateful to everyone who is joining us in our efforts to bring affordable housing to families across the country."
Achieving access to an affordable home is increasingly difficult for many Canadians, with 91 per cent saying high costs are the biggest barrier to homeownership, according to a recent survey by PSB conducted on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.
Additionally, one in seven Canadian households, including 735,000 children, are in core housing need, data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation finds.
"The homes we are building in Canada will bring much needed stability to so many families," said Mark Rodgers, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. "We are thrilled to be welcoming president and Mrs. Carter to Canada and to see so many communities across the country coming together during this one week to help empower families through affordable homeownership."
Since 1984, the former president and Mrs. Carter have travelled around the world with Habitat, donating their time and voices annually to build and improve homes and raise awareness of the critical need for decent and affordable housing. They have worked alongside nearly 100,000 volunteers in 14 countries to build, renovate and repair more than 4,000 homes.
Country music stars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood also lent a hand in Edmonton. Brooks and Yearwood, who along with the Carters were named inaugural Habitat Humanitarians, have volunteered their time, skills and voices to Habitat since 2007. In Winnipeg, long-time Habitat Canada supporter and HGTV star Scott McGillivray built homes with volunteers during the week.