Habitat for Humanity Canada launches new award promoting affordable housing, sustainable building practices



    WINNIPEG, May 21 /CNW/ - Habitat for Humanity Canada today announced at
its Annual General Meeting the first recipient of a new award created to
recognize volunteers who raise awareness of the need for affordable housing
and environmentally responsible design and construction.
    The inaugural Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life National Award
for Leadership in Sustainable and Affordable Home Building was presented to
Habitat for Humanity Victoria to recognize Casey Edge for his work in
Victoria, British Columbia. A volunteer with the Victoria affiliate for the
past eight years and a staunch advocate for sustainable building, Edge has
successfully encouraged community partners to help fund greener building in
Victoria.
    Stewart Hardacre, President and COO of Habitat for Humanity Canada said
"this award will help Habitat for Humanity continue its leadership in
developing practices that are both sustainable and affordable, while
recognizing the hard work of our volunteers. The green homes our volunteers
build reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to three tonnes per year and save
our partner families about $500 per year in utility costs."
    Funded by Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life through The Key to
Giving(TM), the companies' national corporate citizenship program, the annual
award will be bestowed upon one Habitat for Humanity Canada volunteer, who
will then direct the funds to a sustainable, affordable building project.
    "Homes that are affordable and constructed with sensitivity for the
environment are an important element of strong and healthy communities," said
Jan Belanger, Assistant Vice-President, Community Affairs, Great-West Life,
London Life and Canada Life. "We hope this award further encourages a
collective commitment to sustainable and affordable home building as a means
to help Canadians break the cycle of poverty."
    Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to protecting the environment and
employing sustainable building practices. In building more sustainable and
affordable homes, Habitat's goal is to give a true "hand up" to families in
need by reducing energy costs in the home. In 2008, 40 per cent of affiliates
built to local best-in-class energy efficiency standards. Canadian affiliates
aim to double the number of energy efficient homes they build in 2009-10.

    About Habitat for Humanity Canada:

    Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit, faith-based
organization working for a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to
live. The mission of the organization is to mobilize volunteers and community
partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means
to breaking the cycle of poverty. Habitat for Humanity Canada was founded in
1985, consists of over 50,000 volunteers and 72 affiliate organizations from
coast to coast. The organization is also a member of Habitat for Humanity
International which spans 93 countries, has built over 300,000 homes, and is
now building a new home every 10 minutes.

    About Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life:

    Great-West Life is a leading Canadian insurer, with interests in the life
and health insurance, investment, retirement savings and reinsurance
businesses, primarily in Canada and Europe. In Canada, Great-West Life and its
subsidiaries, London Life and Canada Life, offer a broad portfolio of
financial and benefit plan solutions and serve the financial security needs of
more than 12 million people.
    As an Imagine Caring Company supporting the principles of corporate
citizenship and benchmarks for community investment established by Imagine
Canada, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life donate a minimum of one
per cent of average pre-tax profits to non-profit, charitable and community
organizations each year. Through The Key to Giving(TM) - their national
corporate citizenship program - the companies contribute to non-profit,
charitable and community organizations across the country to address health
and wellness, education, social services, arts and culture and civic
initiatives. The Key to Giving program also supports the volunteer involvement
of staff and financial security advisors in their efforts to help meet the
needs of the communities in which they live and work.





For further information:

For further information: Cameron McAlpine, Optimum Public Relations,
(416) 967-8125, Cameron.Mcalpine@Cossette.com; Marlene Klassen, Assistant
Vice-President, Communication Services, Great-West Life, London Life and
Canada Life, (204) 946-7705, marlene.klassen@gwl.ca


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