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How to complete 500 volunteer hours in Calgary

Posted by Lisa Hallet on Oct 6, 2020 4:28:18 PM

You have probably heard that volunteering is an important part of buying a home through Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta.

While the 500 volunteer hours can seem challenging at first, most homeowners have actually found them to be very rewarding!

When you volunteer with Habitat, you get to work alongside other members of the community – sometimes even your own future neighbours!

Volunteering, especially on our construction sites, also gives you useful skills that you can use once you own your home.

We know it can feel like a lot, so we’ve taken 10 of the most frequently asked questions about volunteering – and even created a sample schedule – to show you how achievable it really is.

We hope this will help you feel confident that you could complete the volunteer hours and inspire you to take the next step on your journey into home ownership.

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1. Why do Habitat homeowners have to volunteer?

One of the reasons Habitat for Humanity is able to offer a mortgage with no down payment and no interest is because of the volunteer requirement.

According to Canada Revenue Agency, 500 is the minimum number of hours Habitat must require to offer this type of mortgage.

Volunteer hours are not considered in lieu of a down payment and have no monetary value. They are an indication of commitment to the partnership and a demonstration of contributing to the community.

See how two Habitat homeowners in Calgary accomplished their volunteer hours.

2. Where can I volunteer?

You can volunteer at the Habitat ReStores and construction sites, and you'll also get hours from completing Homeowner Education Classes!

Habitat ReStores

There are two ReStores in Calgary. One is on Sunridge Way NE, and one is in Deerfoot Meadows SE.

Habitat ReStore locations in Calgary

Habitat Construction Sites

The construction sites are located in Calgary. The locations depend on where we’re currently building. Each parent will complete 75 of their volunteer hours on a construction site.

Homeowner Education Classes

As a future homeowner, you’ll complete online Homeowner Education Classes that cover topics like condo living, budgeting, credit, debt and more.

Each course is worth two volunteer hours per parent.

3. When can I volunteer?

You can volunteer every day of the week! We have different shifts available at different times to help you schedule around work, childcare and other responsibilities.

Habitat ReStores

  • Open seven days a week
  • Half day shifts in the mornings and afternoons
  • 9 am to 1 pm or 1 pm to 5 pm

Habitat Construction Sites

  • Tuesday to Saturday
  • 8:30 am to 4 pm
  • No half days

Homeowner Education Classes

  • Available online
  • 9 to 10 mandatory online courses
  • 7 optional online courses

4. Can I make my own volunteer schedule?

Yes, you can! You can choose all of your own shifts and make a schedule that is best for you.

This sample schedule below shows how a single-parent household can easily complete 15 hours in one month.

Volunteer Hours Sample Schedule

5. How long does it usually take to complete the hours?

On average, it takes future homeowners six to eight months to complete the hours. However, some families have completed them in as little as two months!

It’s really up to you and how quickly you want to finish them.

6. How many hours do I need to complete per month?

Single-parent households must complete at least 15 hours per month, and two-parent households must complete at least 30 hours.

These monthly minimums will help you stay on track and complete your hours in time to take possession of your home.

7. Can my kids help with the volunteer hours?


  • Children between the ages of 5 and 15 can help by making art and thank you cards for Habitat sponsors, donors and volunteers – up to 25 hours each.
  • Children ages 16 and 17 can volunteer at the ReStores and construction sites – up to 50 hours each.
  • Children 18+ can volunteer at the ReStores and construction sites – up to 100 hours each.

These hours will count towards the monthly minimum mentioned above.

Your kids can be part of volunteering by making cards
and artwork for Habitat sponsors, donors and volunteers.

8. Can my friends and family help, too?

Yes! Your friends and family are welcome to help you reach your hours.

For a single-parent family, they can help with up to 300. For a two-parent household, they can help with up to 100.

These hours do not count towards the monthly minimum mentioned above, but they still count towards your total 500 hours!


Your friends and family can help you complete your volunteer hours!

9. Do I need experience to volunteer on the construction sites?

No, you do not need any experience. You will work alongside experienced volunteers who will teach and train you.

You will receive all the equipment you need to have a safe and productive day on site, and will never be asked to do anything you are not comfortable with.

Volunteer Construction Quote

10. When can I start volunteering?

You can start volunteering after you have been approved and have completed your homeowner orientation session! Any hours completed prior to that will not be included in the 500.

Topics: Home Ownership

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