Habitat for Humanity Australia Dedicates Two Homes Completed In Bidwill Blitz Build

The Homes Are Among Several Which HFH Australia Will Build In Sydney Suburb In 2010

SYDNEY, 23rd December 2009: Habitat for Humanity Australia dedicated two houses completed in a 12-day blitz build in Bidwill, a suburb northwest of Sydney.

The houses for single parent families are among several homes which HFH Australia will be building in Bidwill over the coming year.

Rhiannon Hart (above, left) and Sue-Anne Webeck (below, right) receiving their house keys.

Volunteers put up frames of the house, inserted windows and painted walls among other tasks. Photo by Diana Graham Imagery.

Five members of the Sydney Swans, a professional football team, turned house builders for a day.

Rhiannon Hart and her two young children are one of the two home partner families. Together with her children, Alexander and Emily, she had been on the move constantly without the prospect of a permanent and stable home. Rhiannon’s two-year-old daughter Emily had a heart operation and is being monitored by doctors for possible abnormalities.

“After moving around so often it will be wonderful to stay in one place and provide my children with a good, stable home to grow up in,” said Rhiannon.

Hart’s new neighbours will be Sue-Anne Webeck and her 16-year-old son Michael. Webeck, who works as a teacher’s aide at a local public school, had been unable to afford a decent home until Habitat and its supporters stepped in. Before the build began, Webeck had said: “Michael and I can’t wait to contribute our 500 hours of sweat equity; it’s even more rewarding as Michael is keen to pursue a career in carpentry or engineering.”

The blitz build was launched in mid-November by David Borger, New South Wales’s Housing Minister, who volunteered together with the entire staff from his office. Other volunteers included staff from Australian mortgage insurer QBE LMI, a cornerstone sponsor of HFH Australia, and Sydney-headquartered Origin Energy as well as students from Abbotsleigh School for Girls in Sydney.

Five footballers from Sydney Swans also took time off pre-season training to build with the Hart and Webeck families. “It’s strenuous work but it’s different from running around an oval all day,” footballer Nick Malceski was quoted as saying by local newspaper St Marys/Mt Druitt Star. “It’s a good feeling to lend a hand to families who’ve been doing it tough.”

Over 12 days, volunteers put up frames of the houses, inserted windows, painted walls and even laid turf for the children to play on.

Borger said: “The Bidwill Blitz Build is a great initiative.” He lauded the event for bringing government and non-government organizations together with the community to raise money and meet the challenge of housing families in need.

Jo Brennan, CEO of HFH Australia, said: “Housing affordability is at an all-time low in Australia and many families are struggling to cope. However, Habitat for Humanity Australia believes that by giving people the tools to help themselves, they can create a better life for themselves and their families.

“We have already seen with our partner families how home ownership is the key to a better life and can act as a powerful catalyst for poverty alleviation.”

Interviewed by a local TV station during the blitz build, Sue-Ann Webeck, with her son beside her, said: “I never ever thought I can leave him a home so it is just amazing.”

An official dedication ceremony was held at the end of November where representatives from HFH Australia and QBE LMI handed over the keys to the Webeck and Hart families.