Nova Scotia REALTORS® Give Back, One Stud at a Time

A Nova Scotia REALTOR® challenged her colleagues across the province to decorate 2-by-4-inch studs and raise funds for future affordable housing builds.

Melissa Berry, a Bedford-based REALTOR® with Royal LePage Atlantic in Nova Scotia, launched a challenge to participate in the Habitat for Humanity NS Stud-A-Thon in early November with the help of her brokerage.

Thanks to Berry’s challenge, REALTORS® purchased 55 studs and contributed more than $13,000 to the Stud-a-thon. All told, Habitat for Humanity NS sold more than 220 studs in total, giving them $55,000 to put towards a future Habitat build site.

“The thought behind this challenge is that I have always wanted to do as much as I can to raise awareness and help to provide affordable housing options, and this is an opportunity to do both,” says Berry, who grew up in Halifax. “I am always blown away by how much time and money REALTORS® are willing to donate and this seemed to be a good way to get everyone involved for a good cause.”

The Habitat for Humanity NS Stud-A-Thon campaign invited everyone to purchase a wooden stud for $250, decorate it, then return it to Habitat to be used in a future build. It takes at least 300 studs to build Habitat homes, which go on to provide affordable housing for Nova Scotian families who would not be able to purchase a home otherwise.

Donna Williamson, CEO of Habitat for Humanity NS, says the costs of building have skyrocketed, making it tougher for the organization to meet its aim to provide affordable housing in Nova Scotia communities.

The location of the build using studs donated in the campaign, as well as the family that would move into the home, will be determined later in 2023. Berry made the stud she donated bright and colourful with a reminder of what makes a home.

“It was such a great idea for Melissa to put this out to REALTORS®, who are all about providing homes for people,” says Williamson. “This campaign, and REALTORS®’ participation in it, shows how the community can work together to provide affordable housing.”

Berry, who is a board member of Habitat for Humanity NS and on the fundraising committee, used the Stud-A-Thon campaign as the framework for REALTORS® to give back to their communities in a way that speaks directly to the housing industry, and she says it is already providing some hope for families who need housing.

Many of Berry’s real estate connections, including lawyers, home inspectors, builders, suppliers and more, pitched in to make the campaign a success, as Berry had reached out to her network across social media. REALTORS® and businesses used the studs as a focus for some of their holiday staff and family parties.

She says the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® was key to getting the Stud-A-Thon campaign going, along with many brokerages throughout the province. Royal LePage Atlantic helped by donating 15 studs at an initial sales meeting, and Berry credits her REALTOR® colleague Janice Naugler with being especially helpful.

“Having grown up in Nova Scotia and working as a REALTOR® here, I’ve been able to get a close look at what communities are like and what they need,” says Berry. “Working in this industry, dealing with a broad range of buyers and sellers, all of whom are going through different life transitions, I was drawn to work with Habitat for Humanity to do what I can to help others in a way that fits my interests and skills, so that I can give back in the best way I know how.”

While Berry’s challenge ended on December 31, 2022, the Stud-a-thon is still live on Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia’s website, and the organization expects another big push for the campaign in 2023.

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