National chief helps build home for Kakekagumick family
Sandy Lake’s Ida Kakekagumick is looking forward to spending Christmas with her three grandchildren in their new Habitat for Humanity home in Ottawa.
“We’re getting excited,” said Kakekagumick, who has been living in Ottawa since 1986 and currently works at the Minwaashin Lodge - Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre. “At first I couldn’t believe that this was happening — this is my very first home. Habitat for Humanity has made it a reality for me and my grandchildren to own a home.”
Kakekagumick never thought she would own a home, noting she has been renting a home in a “quiet neighbourhood” in Ottawa. She appreciated the help from National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and the Assembly of First Nation staff as they helped build her home this summer.
“It was awesome seeing him over there working with his hardhat on and his boots,” Kakekagumick said. “What’s amazing is the number of volunteers, corporate sponsors, organizations — they (take time) out of their work day, they bring their staff and they come (to the site) for the day.”
Kakekagumick said about 2,000 volunteers helped build the three Habitat for Humanity homes being built in Ottawa this summer.
“I’ve taken vacation leave in order to work on my house,” Kakekagumick said, noting she put in about 400 hours of “sweat equity” volunteer time over the past year. “You’re supposed to work 400 hours in the community, it doesn’t matter where, so I worked at their restore for a year. Every Saturday I would go there and work the day and then (I worked) 100 hours just for the build.”
Atleo and the AFN staff volunteered due to the critical shortage of housing for First Nation families living on and off-reserve.
“Addressing First Nations housing needs requires a unified effort by all sectors of the public and all levels of government,” Atleo said. “By working together, we can ensure all First Nations families and children have access to safe, secure and affordable housing. We are happy to be participating on another build with our partners at Habitat for Humanity. We look forward to our continued cooperation in implementing their Aboriginal Housing Program in First Nations across Canada.”
AFN entered into partnership with Habitat for Humanity to help provide housing alternatives to First Nations people both on and off reserve and to raise awareness of the critical housing needs facing First Nations citizens and families.
“The Aboriginal Housing Program has made real progress in the year since National Chief Atleo and the AFN joined forces with Habitat for Humanity Canada to bring affordable homeownership to more Aboriginal families,” said Kevin Marshman, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada.
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