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CEO Message May 2024

I’m writing my CEO report as I soar at 36,000 ft returning from the Habitat Canada 2024 National Conference and AGM held in Windsor Ontario. This year the theme was We Build. We Influence. Together.

As well as being a fantastic opportunity to connect with Habitat staff across the country, its also a reminder of the organization we are part of, the life changing work that we do and the uniqueness of our mission. Habitat is a US$15.6 billion brand that’s present in 70 countries and we impact people across the world to provide an affordable and decent place to live.

Reflecting on the many discussions it is unfortunate that like us, other affiliates are facing similar obstacles; access to land, rising construction costs, and operational challenges, at a time when there’s an increasing demand for affordable housing. Yet I’m impressed that we continue to find ways to over come these obstacles and that’s because there are staff and volunteers as well as a lot of community supporters, who share our passion.

We came home from the conference as award winners! I am delighted to share that we received national recognition for our efforts in two categories: Community Outreach Award and One Habitat. The Community Outreach Award was received for the success of our 50/50 raffles, which has raised thousands of dollars over the last three years. Our quest for success for this fundraiser has been evident in the amount of in store tickets sales as well as attending community events up and down the valley to increase awareness and grow the winner’s pot. We were also one of 5 winners for the One Habitat Award, recognizing affiliates that embody and cultivate an environment of collaboration, for the purpose of serving more families. For Habitat Okanagan this is specific to the work we are doing to collaborate with the SEBC affiliate. Award winners themselves, receiving the Environment and Sustainability Award in recognition of their West Kootenay (Castlegar) 4-plex build project, building homes way above the step code required.

These awards demonstrate how far we have come in recent years and have been earnt because of the commitment of staff and volunteers, customers and donors. I am immensely proud of our achievements and very thankful for your support.

This year the meaning of home campaign received a record number of entries and at the conference the grand prize winner read out their winning entry. Its always very emotional to hear what home means to these grade 4,5 and 6 pupils, it never fails to reduce the audience to tears. A big thank you to all our local participants!

ReStores are a terrific way to make your dollars go further. When I recently needed to replace a couple of appliances, I was delighted to find them in the ReStore for a fraction of the retail price. I encourage everyone to check out the ReStores first before buying brand new and feel the joy of scooping a bargain.

Did you know we now have a Facebook page dedicated to ReStores? This page will be constantly updated to showcase what items we have available to purchase in our stores.

I’m delighted to see the progress being made on the build site. With the help of team builds we now have some flooring installed and ready for the painters to start. Appliances are due this month and soon we will be preparing for landscaping.

We had a special visitor touring our Lake Country homes recently, Anaida Poilievre (wife of Pierre Poilievre MP) stopped by while visiting the Okanagan and she was impressed by the homes being built there. We can’t wait for the next four families to move in!

Andrea Manifold 
CEO, Habitat for Humanity Okanagan