MennoHomes

a response to the need for affordable housing

 
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.