A focus on community-building contributions

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and Finance Minister Greg Dewar officially proclaimed the first REALTOR® Week in Manitoba history.

Throughout Realtor Week, which ran during the last week of October, Manitoba’s Realtors announced programs and emphasized their role in building stronger communities across the province.

“The week was an opportunity for our profession to reflect upon our community-building contributions,” said Roberta Weiss, the president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA). “Most importantly, it’s a chance to focus forward on ways we can contribute to building a stronger Manitoba.”

Booklet for home buying

During Realtor Week, MREA announced a new financial literacy publication, which will help make the home buying process easier for Manitoba newcomers and first-time buyers.

Buying a home for the first time can be stressful and complicated. Just imagine the struggle if English isn’t your first language and/or you have limited financial literacy.  

To help meet the need for plain-language financial literacy tools, Realtors teamed up with Literacy Partners of Manitoba and Manitoba Immigrant and Refugee Settlement Sector Association and have developed a free illustrated guide to the home buying process that was recently released in time for Financial Literacy Month (November).

Buying a Home in Manitoba  complements existing resources such as the Home Buyers’ Road Map, developed by the Canadian Real Estate Association in collaboration with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

“This is a great resource for buyers, especially first-time buyers. It’s something newcomers, young people, and almost anyone will be able to understand, and that’s the goal. This resource will make the process of becoming a homeowner easier for people from all walks of life,” said Weiss.

The booklet covers budgeting before you buy, applying for a mortgage, working with Realtors, and writing an offer to purchase. It also includes a “words to know” glossary section.

The booklet is available in banks, schools, community centres, libraries, and through Manitoba Realtors. 

MREA is also providing the booklet on its website and free copies are available for pick-up on request.

The project was funded by MREA, Assiniboine Credit Union, and New Journey Housing.

Citizens Hall of Fame

Have you taken a stroll in Assiniboine Park lately? You may want to check out a unique and impressive installation of sculptures in the southeast corner of the park just off Park Boulevard and Corydon Avenue. It is called the Citizens Hall of Fame and was established by WinnipegREALTORS® in 1986.

It features likenesses of 42 outstanding citizens who have done so much to make a difference to Winnipeg’s quality of life.

MREA Shelter Foundation

A Manitoba Real Estate Association Shelter Foundation grant will help at-risk young women experience security and comfort as they rebuild their lives in Winnipeg.

Marymound and its historic Leacock Estate in West Kildonan is one of nine organizations selected for grant funding through the MREA Shelter Foundation in 2015. The estate’s secure living units provide a safe environment to protect young women from the dangers of street life and abuse. Marymound’s managed-care programs aim to meet young womens’ and girls’ physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs. The grant is earmarked to improve shelter services at Leacock Estate. 

“Realtors recognize that shelter services are vital to community stability. We also understand that structured fundraising and philanthropy help to create stronger communities for all. It’s a privilege to be able to give and make a lasting difference,” said MREA Shelter Foundation chair Roger Burns.

Since 2006, $600,000 has been raised to support shelter organizations across Manitoba.

Manitoba Tipi Mitawa

It is projected three First Nations families in Winnipeg can buy their own homes in 2016, thanks to a Manitoba Tipi Mitawa funding deadline extension provided by Manitoba Housing.

“Homeownership brings greater stability and pride to our neighbours and our communities. Every time we partner with a First Nations family, we’re building bridges to a better tomorrow. Generations of indigenous people have a better chance to grow and thrive thanks to the continuing success of our program,” said Harry DeLeeuw, co-chair of Manitoba Tipi Mitawa.

The first Manitoba Tipi Mitawa homes were purchased in 2009. Since then, 14 families have become homeowners, providing stability for more than 20 children and grandchildren.

Most impressive is that Manitoba Tipi Mitawa families have never missed a mortgage payment.

The unique affordable housing program is a partnership between MREA, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and the Manitoba government.

The groundbreaking program provides down payment and mortgage subsidy assistance to candidates who meet stringent credit and work history eligibility requirements. Successful Manitoba Tipi Mitawa homeowners take financial management and homeownership education sessions before they start shopping with a Realtor to buy their own home. More than 100 families are on the waiting list to apply for funding.

Donation to CMHR

Next time you visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, stroll down Israel Asper Way to the main entrance. Amidst the indigenous prairie grasses you’ll notice a Realtor welcome sign recognizing the Realtor community’s $2-million dollar contribution to the national centre for human rights education.

“Realtors across Canada participated in an extraordinary effort to support the establishment of this jewel in the heart of the continent,” said Harry DeLeeuw, who worked alongside other leaders throughout the capital campaign.

In the museum’s most recent visitor survey, 97 per cent of respondents were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the visitor experience. And, more than seven out of every 10 visitors said they will talk with family and friends about what they learned at the CMHR.

“That’s exactly what we hope will happen. Learning and dialogue are vital, and through education on human rights we all will be better equipped to understand the changing nature of our land and the diverse people throughout,” said DeLeeuw.

West End homes

Housing Opportunity Partnership (HOP) has been instrumental and transformative in acquiring lots and homes since the late 1990s to renew the housing stock, provide affordable housing for first-time buyers and bring stability to Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhoods. 

A Realtor-led initiative established by WinnipegREALTORS®, HOP has completed 90 homes with those in the last few years being new infill homes for first-time buyers.