Forbes Street was full of sunshine and smiling faces on October 23, as Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario celebrated four new homeowners and their wonderful families.
After some words of welcome from Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario CEO Brian Elliot, the first order of business was a Key Ceremony for two families: Jennifer and her son Mateus and daughter Ilia, and Lindsie and her daughters Mariah and Lean and son Noah. Jennifer’s family will be moving into 34 Forbes St., a home sponsored by Canada Life, while Lindsie’s family will be living at 32 Forbes St., the Community Build 2019.
As Brian emphasized, Habitat relies on its generous sponsors, explaining that “our volunteers are incredible, but without sponsorships, we simply can’t build the homes.” The attending representatives from these sponsors included Jen MacRae and Amanda Fickling from Canada Life. Jen recalled how over 100 Canada Life volunteers quickly signed up to help build 32 Forbes St.: “It’s a great team-building activity and so popular that we now have to have a lottery [among our employees] to participate! The safety aspect is always top of mind and the Habitat volunteers also bring so much skill to help people who want to help.”
Also in attendance to congratulate the families were Dan Barreiras and Laura Husser from Libro Credit Union, another valued Habitat sponsor. “At Libro we know that investing in our community isn’t just about dollars and cents,” said Dan. “That’s why we are a proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity.”
When asked about what she was most looking forward to about her family’s new home, Jennifer said, “I’m most looking forward to finally having peace of mind [about housing] and I love knowing I’m building something for my kids.” For Lindsie, she said her experience with Habitat was one of hope: “I remember feeling really discouraged, like owning a home would not be feasible for someone in my situation. Habitat gave us hope.”
The next celebration was a Groundbreaking Ceremony for two homes currently under construction on the final two plots of land in the multi-year Manor Park project: 36 Forbes St. (sponsored by National Bank) will be home to Karin and her sons Keyshawn and Zachery and daughter Victoria, while 38 Forbes St. (sponsored by Forever Homes), will be home to Arber and Lumturi, their daughter Liza and their son Lir, whose autism poses unique challenges.
“For us as parents of a child with autism, this is a dream come true,” said Arber. Brian gave special thanks to the developers of this family’s home, noting that Forever Homes has been “absolutely amazing” and 38 Forbes St. marks “the first time a developer has stepped up to build a home on our behalf, which allows us to better mobilize our volunteers.”
As the new owner of 36 Forbes St., Karin likewise expressed her heartfelt thanks for everyone who helped her on the journey to becoming a Habitat homeowner. “The main thing Habitat means to me [is] growth,” she said. “Today is the start of a future of new growth—the growth of security, faith, hope, love … and community.”
Click here to find out how you can help Habitat continue to grow and help even more families in our community.
Written by Habitat volunteer Catie