Toronto Families Seeking Habitat Homes on the Rise



    TORONTO, April 20 /CNW/ - During this time of economic uncertainty, more
and more families in Toronto are struggling to meet their basic needs and many
people are wondering how they will make next month's mortgage payment.
    Attendance at Habitat for Humanity Toronto's spring information sessions
has shot up 63% compared to the same number during the first quarter in 2008.
"The increased number of attendees at our information sessions is a direct
indicator of interest as well as demand. It speaks to the growing need that
exists for more affordable living options," says Barb Wilson, Habitat for
Humanity's Family Outreach Coordinator.
    In addition to interested partner families, the number of interested
volunteers has also increased; most notably those from the financial,
marketing, and construction industries. In fact, Habitat for Humanity Toronto
estimates that approximately 80% of their new volunteer enquiries are coming
from the recently unemployed. The sharp increase in volunteers can be
attributed to a soaring national unemployment rate and reduced part-time
hours. These difficult factors of the current economic climate have also been
felt in other ways - Habitat for Humanity Toronto saw a 16% decrease in
donations in January 2009.
    Understanding the growing needs of and for Habitat for Humanity Toronto,
volunteers from across industries have stepped up to help in any way they can.
Last year 11,000 Habitat volunteers devoted over 84,000 hours to the mission
of ending the poverty cycle which saved the organization nearly $750,000.
    "It is thanks to the sweat and dedication of our volunteers that
countless families no longer have to make the unthinkable choice between
decent shelter and other basic needs," said Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat
for Humanity Toronto. "Volunteers are paramount and are making it possible for
Habitat for Humanity Toronto to build safe, decent and affordable homes for
families in need across the GTA."
    Yesterday launched National Volunteer Week which runs from April 19 to
25. Every year more than 80,000 registered charities and 100,000
not-for-profit organizations across Canada pause to thank and recognize their
volunteers.

    About Habitat for Humanity Toronto:

    Established in 1988, Habitat for Humanity Toronto is a non-profit,
non-denominational Christian housing organization. We welcome all people
without discrimination to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable homes
in partnership with low-income families. One hundred percent of all
administrative and fundraising costs are paid for by the operation of three
ReStores. Habitat ReStores sell quality new and gently used donated building
materials. Every 10 minutes, Habitat for Humanity helps a family improve their
housing situation in more than 100 countries around the world.





For further information:

For further information: Joanna Matthews, Communications & Events
Coordinator, P: (416) 755-7353, ext. 228, C: (416) 277-3064


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