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This article was published 31/3/2016 (389 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Habitat for Humanity is launching a new home repair program, Habitat Handyman, for low and middle-income families, it announced Thursday.
The program will do small to medium repair jobs. That includes fixing stairs, replacing doors and windows, fence repairs--often jobs that are a low priority for contractors and tradesmen.
It won't rewire houses or re-shingle roofs.
"This is an under-serviced part of the market," said Sandy Hopkins, Habitat CEO. It's also an area where Habitat has some know-how. The service is also "scalable," meaning Habitat Handyman can start small and grow.
It will be mainly by volunteers. "We have a deep pool of volunteers including a retired engineer and carpenters," Hopkins said.
The program has been running since December to work the kinks out. People merely phone Habitat Handyman or Habitat for Humanity to see if they quality. The repairs aren't free but aim to be affordable.
ComFree, Winnipeg Foundation, and two family foundations who chose to remain anonymous, have put up about $80,000 to kick start the program. "That will be enough to get the business to sustainability. Our mandate is our businesses have to be self-sustaining," said Hopkins.
Earnings will go into Habitat's capital pool for construction of new homes, its primary business.
The program will be run by Jim Gnidziejko, who is a journeyman carpenter and has worked in home construction for 30 years.
He will first give an estimate on a job that is hopefully affordable for the customer. "Big or small, we do it all," Gnidziejko said, rattling off the first potential marketing slogan.
Habitat Handyman hopes to include small plumbing and electrical repairs, too."I think I can find a retired plumber and electrician. We do have a few people lined up." He is still building up his pool of volunteers.
Kim Ewchuk, a representative of ComFree, said people could even use the program to help fix up a home and make it "market ready." That might include a repairing a squeaky floor or sticking door.
Habitat will be at the Home and Garden Show at the Convention Centre this weekend to talk about the new program.