Partners finish biggest Prince Albert Habitat for Humanity housing project ever

It took almost a year, but Habitat for Humanity’s biggest Prince Albert construction project is finally complete.

The organization officially handed over the six-bedroom, 1,175 square ft. home—complete with finished basement—to the its new owners on Friday.

Habitat executive director Jan Thomas said it was “a great accomplishment” for the organization and its partners, especially since they were a little leery about taking the project on.

“My thought was, ‘how are we going to fit 10 people in one house?’” Thomas said with a chuckle while looking back at the project’s history.

After 10 months, the house is no longer just a plan on a drawing board. Yohannes Zerai, his wife Ruta, and their eight kids received the keys at a special ceremony and barbecue.

“We are so happy,” Zerai said after cheerfully shaking hands with those in attendance. “We say thank you to everybody. Everybody is happy we’ve got a lot of rooms. Before we had the four bedrooms, but now we have six. Very comfortable.”

Zerai had his family had to purchase the home at fair market family, while also work 500 hours on the project before taking procession. They had help from CORCAN, a special operating Correctional Service of Canada agency that helps inmates on day parole gain experience and acquire skills in the home construction industry.

They also had help from the federal and provincial governments, who jointly contributed $50,000 under the Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement. The provincial government also contributed an additional $55,000 through the Summit Action Fund, and local business Lake Country Co-op also supplied $50,000.

“It’s very nice,” Zerai said. “We’re working with them (for) 500 hours and there’s a Habitat house. I know they (kept) working every day, 24 hours, very hard, especially, the managers.”

Habitat for Humanity homes typically come with every room finished, except for the family room. Ideally, they’d like the family to put their own finish touch on their home, but this house is an exception. With eight kids organizers said the family will need that space right away.

Since 2009, more than $1.3-million has been spent building Habitat for Humanity houses in Prince Albert. More than $10.8-million has been spent across the province during that same time.