Calgary

Habitat for Humanity homes delayed because of volunteer shortage

A Habitat for Humanity project is a month behind schedule because there aren't enough volunteers, leading to delays in the Radisson and Pineridge projects.

Corporate volunteers fall by a third, delaying Radisson and Pineridge projects

Graham McKerrell, director or construction for Habitat for Humanity in southern Alberta, says a drop-off in volunteers is holding up two projects in Calgary. (Meg Wilcox/CBC)

A Habitat for Humanity project is a month behind schedule because there aren't enough volunteers to finish a four-plex in Radisson Heights in the city's southeast.

While individual volunteer numbers at Habitat are steady, the corporate numbers have dropped by a third in the last year, Habitat officials say.

"The adopt-a-day [corporate] groups are really beneficial for us because we get a group of 15 really motivated individuals working on a team-building event," says construction director Graham McKerrell. "They can accomplish quite a bit in a day."

Other organizations in the city, such as the Food Bank and Drop-In, say their volunteer numbers are steady. But at Habitat, the corporate drop means 720 lost work hours, resulting in delays.

Families hoping to be in their new homes in time for the school year will now be waiting until the end of October or possibly later.

The drop in corporate support is to be expected, according to Wendelin Fraser, an instructor at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business.

"We should suspect that financial donations certainly are going to have to be rolled back a bit, and over the past few years we've seen organizations, particularly in Calgary, being extremely generous," she said.

The delay of Habitat's Radisson Heights project could stall the group's next project — six four-plexes in Pineridge in the city's northeast.

With files from the CBC's Meg Wilcox

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