MennoHomes

a response to the need for affordable housing

 
About US

MennoHomes Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 2001 under the sponsorship of Mennonite Central Committee as a response to the need for affordable housing. We provide affordable rental housing in Waterloo Region for families and seniors. CRA# 86304 7015 RR0001

Mission Statement

MennoHomes mission is to provide affordable housing to those in need. Our housing projects will be economically and environmentally viable and sustainable and will include support services for our tenants.

 
Dan Driedger - Executive Director

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Dan joined MennoHomes as the Executive Director in October 2013. His professional career includes serving with Mennonite Central Committee Ontario as Resource Development Director, and many years with a Waterloo-based engineering and manufacturing firm as the Administrative Operations Manager.

His first work experience came early on the family farm near Chesley. He moved to Waterloo Region to study Business at Conestoga College. He has "hands on" construction experience having designed and built two houses for his family. Dan and his wife Darlene live in the Drayton area along with their three young-adult children.

Dan enjoys the wide range of work that comprises his role with MennoHomes. He finds the opportunity to work collaboratively with volunteers, staff, and the board meaningful and rewarding as together they respond to the need for affordable housing.

 
Nancy Regehr - Board Chair

headshot-nancy-webNancy joined the board the MennoHomes board in 2011 after retiring from her position as Associate Executive Director of Project Ploughshares after more than 30 years of service. During that time she had responsibilities for finances, fundraising, personnel, administration and board governance.

From 1973 to 1976, Nancy and her husband Ernie were MCC volunteers, living in Botswana, South Africa and Zambia where Ernie worked on a research and writing project on the role of churches with regard to apartheid.

For 15 years Nancy served on the board of Global Community Centre that delivered development education programs in the Waterloo Region, and is currently on the board of her condominium corporation.

Nancy grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario and met Ernie when they were students at Conrad Grebel University College. Nancy and Ernie were married in 1968 and have three children and three grandchildren. They live in Waterloo.

 
Chip Bender - Vice Chair

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Chip joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. He is currently employed by The House of Friendship as an addiction counselor in the Addiction Supportive Housing (ASH) program. He became aware of the need for affordable housing while employed by The Working Centre in a position that supported the persistently homeless population in Kitchener. Prior to joining MennoHomes, he served on the board of directors at the House of Friendship.

He has served as a pastor for 14 years in two different urban Mennonite congregations (Ottawa and Waterloo). He learned some building trades through two long-term stints with MDS and running his own reno company for a short period of time before feeling called to work more closely with people again. He has studied theology in Winnipeg and Waterloo, receiving his MTS from Conrad Grebel University College. He has also been trained as a coach and as a spiritual director. Chip continues to learn valuable lessons from his wife, Wendy Janzen and their two elementary school-aged sons with whom he shares a residence in downtown Kitchener.

 
Brian Unrau - Secretary


Brian-2016Brian joined the MennoHomes board in 2016. He is president of Vigor Clean Tech, a local renewable energy developer. His work experience and education reflect his wide-ranging interests and skills including a Bachelor of Environmental Design, Masters of Business Administration, as well as being a Chartered Professional Accountant. He has worked as a consultant, business owner, teacher, and in finance.

In addition to his work with Vigor Clean Tech, Brian is President of Community Energy Development Co-operative Ltd. He also serves on the board of directors of the Federation of Community Power Co-operatives.

Brian and his wife Jennifer have three young children who enjoy living in Haysville (near New Hamburg). He sees his role with MennoHomes as an opportunity to further use his skills in shaping financing/business models while integrating this with his interests in design and the built environment.Brian is excited by the opportunity to look at energy efficiency and building systems in creating both sustainable and affordable housing.

 
Amie Brubacher McPhee - Treasurer

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Amie joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a 2002 graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Masters of Accounting degree. Amie is the Director, Corporate Finance at Mennonite Economic Development Associates in Waterloo. She has been working with MEDA since 2004, starting as Assistant Controller. Amie enjoys getting involved in local community events and sports organizations. Amie, her husband Chris, and their two children live in Wellesley.

 
Arnie Bender - Board Member
ArnieArnie has been associated with MennoHomes since 2002, more recently as Representative for Wellesley Mennonite Church. He joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. He and his wife, Barb, have called the village of Wellesley home for the past 16 years. They have three grown children and six grandchildren.

Graduating from OAC Guelph in 1966, his career focus has been the construction industry, both residential and commercial.He's held a licenced carpenter certificate for more than 40 years, and retired as a Construction Site Superintendent.He's also served on various committees within the church, as well as, in the construction trade. He "officially" retired from the construction industry but stays involved in various projects.Arnie;enjoys helping others and staying busy.

 
Cheryl Buehler - Board Member

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Cheryl joined the MennoHomes board in 2017.

Cheryl is Senior Legal Counsel at Family and Children’s Services (FCS) of the Waterloo Region.She been with FCS since 2001 after having her own practice in Elmira for several years. Cheryl currently serves as co-chair of the Senior Counsel Networking Group of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.

Through her work at Family and Children’s Services, she has gained a greater understanding of the importance of the needs of the community and the huge impact that volunteers, charities and not-for-profit groups can have in the life of a child and family.She passionately believes that stable and affordable housing is a critical need in the community and vital to the strength of our families and well-being of our children.

Cheryl hopes that her experience in child welfare and her legal training will be of benefit to the MennoHomes team

 
Steven Reesor Rempel - Board Member

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Steven joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. He is Development Assistant at Shalom Counselling Services in Waterloo. After working with Mennonite Central Committee in Bangladesh for 1 year, and with the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support in Kitchener for 5 years, he returned to school for his Masters of Business Administration, graduating in 2014.

As an avid soccer player, Steven captains the "Mennos in Black" soccer team. Steven and his wife Jessica live in downtown Kitchener.

 
John Oudyk - Board Member

John-Oudyk-Nominations

John joined the MennoHomes Board in 2017.

John believes the research—the single most important factor in reducing the impact of poverty is affordable, stable housing. He wants to be a part of that process in Waterloo Region.

In 2016, John sold his business entering into early retirement. this has provided time and energy for more volunteer activities such as joining the MennoHomes board.

John has extensive experience at the Board level: 10 years on the Better Business Bureau, 3 years on the Condominium board where he lives in Kitchener, 6 years on the executive of a trade association and 3 years with the leadership team at his local church.

These board positions, business experience, and life lessons have taught John that goals can be achieved best through partnerships when like-minded people come together and join forces.

 
William Wallace - Board Member

William WallaceWilliam joined the MennoHomes board in 2016. He is a former actor, teacher and now branding expert who has resided in the Waterloo Region for 17 years. He leads The Brand Architect, a local firm that specializes in helping clients with marketing promotions and overall branding.

As part of his urge to become more involved in his community, he founded the local chapter of 100 Men Who Give a Damn. Not only has this charity conduit created ties to the community, it has made William that much more aware of what local charities there are, and the needs in the Waterloo Region.

William is interested in organizations like MennoHomes because of what he feels is the need for affordable housing locally. At present he lives In Brighton Yards Housing Cooperative, so he understands what is possible when industry and humanity work together.

William Wallace looks forward to working with the Board on marketing initiatives and strengthening the brand of MennoHomes as it increases its mandate and scope.

 
Martin Buhr - President Emeritus

Martin Buhr - Founding President

A Brief Overview of Martin's Legacy

In late 2000 at the initiative of Mennonite Central Committee, a small working group was formed to explore how best to respond to the need for affordable housing in Waterloo Region. Martin Buhr had just retired after serving as the Executive Director of the House of Friendship from 1978 to 1998. He agreed to lead this new initiative along with his wife Pauline. In May 2001, the working group invited local Mennonite and Brethren in Christ pastors, together with members of their churches who were community leaders in health and social services into the discernment process to determine how best to respond. There was strong support for a collective response to the need for affordable housing.

The name MennoHomes was chosen and the decision was made on June 11, 2001 to incorporate as a not-for-profit organization and apply for charitable status. When an incorporation and registration process that often could take up to a year was accomplished by September 2001, a short three months later, Martin Buhr say, "We realized something very unusual was happening. God's blessing was at hand."

From the onset, the inspired leadership of Martin Buhr ensured new opportunities would be pursued and the stock of affordable housing increased. Upon Martin's retirement in October 2013, MennoHomes had created 105 affordable rental units in Waterloo Region housing hundreds. Recognizing that residents need more than just a building, MennoHomes also provides connections to social services through Community Support Workers.

As MennoHomes moves into its second decade, the need for affordable housing still exists - but so does the will to support neighbours in need. MennoHomes continues to respond building on the work of Martin Buhr.

 
MennoHomes Radio Interview

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First aired in October of 2015.

 
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