Yohannes Zerai got one of the best birthday presents ever, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.
On Aug 21, Zerai’s birthday, it was publicly announced he and his family would be the next recipients of a Habitat for Humanity home in Prince Albert.
“We’re celebrating double, first my birthday, [and then] we’re digging for [the home],” Zerai said. “I can’t explain [how happy] I am.”
Zerai said he and his family were very happy to land in Canada, and he was thankful for the work the Government of Canada and Canadian citizens have done in looking after his family who emigrated from the African nation of Eritrea.
As per other Habitat for Humanity home recipients, the Zerai family will be required to put 500 hours of “sweat equity” into their new house.
The Zerai family’s home on the corner of 24 St. E and 6 Ave E. will be a 1,175 square foot bungalow with a partially-finished basement, according to a fact sheet distributed at the ceremonial ground-breaking.
It was also announced at the ceremony that the federal and provincial governments, through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, are jointly contributing roughly $50,000 to support Habitat’s efforts. Since March 2009, the province has contributed some $10.85 million to Habitat for Humanity.
“I’m excited for them because lots of [families] wouldn’t have this opportunity if it wasn’t for Habitat,” Mayor Greg Dionne said. “As a city, what we like about it, look at how long this lot has been empty. Let’s put something on it and start generating taxes, and make it useful.”
Dionne noted the partnership between Habitat for Humanity has been beneficial because the organization “snaps up” many empty lots in Prince Albert which would otherwise go unused. When Habitat for Humanity takes over a property the city saves money because it is no longer required to maintain the property.
With files from Tyler Marr
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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