Habitat for Humanity Thousand Island begins fundraising campaign to build affordable housing

A Brockville non-profit is fundraising to build housing for 15 local families, and there's a chance to win a pretty big prize.

Sitting out front of the Brockville ReStore, an 8x12 wooden Amish shed is being raffled off by Habitat for Humanity Thousand Islands to build affordable housing.

"A thousand tickets is what we are aiming for," said Angela Campbell, Fundraising Manager and Community Connections with Habitat for Humanity Thousand Islands.

"This shed is a facsimile of what is going to be built in the winner’s back yard," Campbell said. "It's going to be the same colour as their home is, the same size and the same quality."

Donated by Sheds of Junetown, all proceeds from the raffle will go towards building a large affordable housing unit in Kemptville.

"It's a 15 stacked townhouses condo unit in Leeds and Grenville, and we've never done anything so large before," she added. "We have partnered with Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa to build this and this is really going to make a difference."

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a home and building supply store that accepts and resells quality new and used building materials.

"We normally raise enough money through the sales in our ReStore to build one, maybe two houses a year," said Bill Spencer, Habitat for Humanity Thousand Islands Treasurer. "(With this initiative) we're going to be helping 15 families instead of one or two."

It's a build that is much needed, as people struggle to find affordable housing across the region.

"Homes are becoming unaffordable and our mission has been all along to build affordable homes and this is part of the solution," added Spencer.

The Kemptville project will be located on Concession Road across from the Kemptville District Hospital. Construction is aiming to start in the fall of 2022 with a completion date of 2024.

"There's a housing crisis that has never ever been like this before," said Campbell. "When we were told that we could have the land to build on, the township said please try and make it as large as possible because we have to accommodate more people."

"It probably wouldn't have happened if we didn't get a partnership for this project," Spencer added. "They said yeah, that's a good idea we'll join you and so off we went."

The raffle is also more than just a shed, thanks to generous local businesses.

"It's not just the shed, but it's a number of utilities like garden carts and gardening accessories, a lawnmower, a gift certificate from Gemmel's Garden Centre, and an urn chuck full of flowers," Campbell smiled.

Brockville Home Hardware, Home Depot, Peavy Mart, Gemmell's Garden Centre and a private donor all chipped in for the raffle.

"We would really welcome more people visiting and looking at the shed and seeing what they can get," Campbell said, adding this is their very first fundraiser.

"Habitat for Humanity Thousand Islands had to look at additional fundraising besides just the ReStore because of COVID they had to shut down for a couple of months and that really impacted what they could do for others, building homes for others," Campbell added.

"This is the first time we've decided to actually go out to the public and tell the people what they could get, what they could purchase and what good it is going to do for the families that we hope to support," she said.

"We're just always looking for community support no matter what," added Spencer.

Tickets cost $20 each and can be purchased online, or through a QR code on a sign in front of the building.

"Right now I think we're close to about 100 tickets sold, we've just started," Campbell added.

"It's very important because for us it's doing something we've never done," Spencer said.

The raffle runs until August 2.