Three families get new Habitat homes for the holidays

Three families received the keys to their new homes in Welland on Friday. Habitat Niagara photos

Habitat for Humanity Niagara press release – This year Habitat for Humanity Niagara celebrates 25 years of working in the Niagara community with the construction of a multi-home project – two semi-detached houses and one single. Where there was once a dilapidated parking lot of the former Atlas hotel, there now stands five beautiful homes.

Three of the five families celebrated their Home Dedication ceremony on Friday, Dec. 14/2018, and received the keys to their new homes, just in time for the holiday season. The fourth family will get their keys in the New Year as they finish completing their 500 volunteer hours with Habitat Niagara, one of the requirements the organization has before handing the keys over to the qualified homebuyers.

“Today is an exciting day where three families get the keys to their new homes,” said Mark Carl, Habitat Niagara’s CEO. “These homes are not given to them for free. They qualified and were selected to become Habitat homebuyers who will pay an interest-free mortgage geared to their income, with no-down payment while also paying insurance, property taxes, utility bills and everything else that comes with being a homeowner.”

This project was a big undertaking for Habitat Niagara, with a $1.2 million dollar fundraising goal. They still need $200,000 to finish the inside of the fifth house, which will become the home to a single mother and her three sons next spring.

With the help of individuals, businesses, community groups and Habitat volunteers, more than 400 build participants raised funds and rolled up their sleeves to help build one of the semi-detached homes. The other semi was built by Indigenous youth from the Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area management Board (NPAAMB) Building Futures program, who will also help to complete the single house along with community build participants.

Colleen, Wendol and their three children were thrilled that the day had finally arrived for them to get the keys to their new home. “We are so incredibly excited that the time has finally come and cannot believe that we are about to move into our new home!” said Colleen. “We cannot wait to spend Christmas morning with our kids, in our own home, around the Christmas tree. This is the most incredible gift and we could not be more grateful!”

“Purchasing this house and being part of the entire build process has truly impacted our lives, and will continue to do so for years,” said Cedrick, new Habitat homeowner. “We are very thankful from the bottom of our hearts and we couldn’t be more grateful, especially since its right around the holidays. We couldn’t have a received a better present. Habit for Humanity has given us a great hand up not a hand out.”

Research has shown that Habitat families are happier, healthier, and rely less on food banks and other social services, while children who grow up in a Habitat home do better in school and are more likely to pursue a post-secondary education.

For more information about Habitat Niagara’s homeownership program, please visit www.habitatniagara.ca