More than houses: Habitat for Humanity volunteer eQ Homes builds communities

Tobin Kardish first visited a residential construction site around the age of five.
Tobin Kardish first visited a residential construction site around the age of five.

Building homes runs in the Kardish family. His father, David, is vice-president of land development at the Regional Group and would take his son out to see some of the company’s projects on weekends.

As he became older, Kardish worked on construction sites as a labourer, witnessing homes come to fruition from the initial excavation through to hanging the final sheet of drywall.

Despite his years of experience, Kardish – who is currently the marketing and brand manager of eQ Homes – recently faced a first on a home building site.

Alongside 14 coworkers, Kardish spent a day as a volunteer homebuilder on Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa’s construction site. The non-profit, which is currently building a single-family home in Carleton Place, aims to give hard-working, low-income families access to affordable home ownership with the help of volunteers such as eQ Homes.

"This is a great charity that aligns with eQ Homes. We build houses. Why not help out and build homes for the less fortunate?"

“Everybody should have a roof over their head,” Kardish says. “This is a great charity that aligns with eQ Homes. We build houses. Why not help out and build homes for the less fortunate?”

Since 1993, Habitat for Humanity has built 53 affordable and safe homes for low-income families, who contribute 500 hours of volunteer time and then buy the home through a no-interest mortgage.

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group found that every $1 spent on a Habitat for Humanity project results in $4 in benefits to society as the new homeowners experience a higher-level of well-being, become more engaged in the community and raise children that achieve higher education levels.

There are also benefits for volunteers such as eQ Homes. Kardish says it’s partially a team-building exercise that draws employees away from their desks and gives them a new perspective on the homebuilding industry.

But more importantly, it advances eQ Homes’ goal of constructing more than just houses.

“We’re very big into building not just homes, but communities,” Kardish says. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”