A reader forwarded this email to me this morning:

From: Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia [mailto:info@habitatns.ca]
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2016 11:11 AM
To: [redacted]
Subject: We need 20 minutes of your time!


A “partnership” with the Steele Auto Group is ill-advised, to put it mildly.

Steele just bulldozed three city blocks of houses containing about 100 units of affordable housing. Steele’s actions were roundly condemned by environmentalists, housing activists, city councillors, and urban planners.

Photo: Kristine Benjamin‎ / Facebook
Photo: Kristine Benjamin‎ / Facebook

And $6,000? Please. Steele would have to spend far more than that to buy that kind of good will advertising.

But Marie-France LeBlanc, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia (H4HNS), defends the partnership. “We’ve been in partnership with Steele for several years,” she says. “Ford does these sorts of arrangements with many charities, and we’ve been fortunate to be selected as one of them.”

LeBlanc says that she wasn’t involved in the decision to raze the north end homes, but Steele allowed H4HNS to salvage appliances and usable building material from the houses before they were razed. Those appliances will be sold at the charity’s “ReStores” in Burnside and Bayers Lake to raise more money for H4HNS.

Steele received a tax receipt for that donation, although it will not receive a tax receipt for the $6,000 raised through the test drives.

In 2015, H4HNS built nine houses. This year it hopes to build five more.

But a much larger project is in the works, says LeBlanc: there’s an 80-unit development planned for the Drysdale neighbourhood in Spryfield. Already four families are living in duplexes in the development; most of the other units will be in newly constructed apartment buildings. There’s no timeline for completion.

LeBlanc says her organization has an annual budget of about $700,000, but that doesn’t include considerable volunteer time and donations of material.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. NB the “up to” before the $6000. So the 6k is the max…the donation presumably caps there, even if every single citizen with a license test drives. Wonder what the amount is per test drive?

  2. Perhaps we should start a campaign to get Steele to offer interest free financing to H4HNS to build the 80 units.