Despite the challenging situation COVID-19 has created, Danielle became Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie & Area’s (HFHSSMA) newest homeowner when she moved into her new Habitat home with her three children, Nashoba, Niyana, and Nova-Anne this past Saturday.
As a single mother, Danielle is happy to finally have stability, a sense of belonging, and safe and affordable place to call home. The family has done a great deal of work in anticipation of moving into their new home – volunteering 500 hours and participating in Habitat’s Homeowner Education Program.
“Since we became the successful candidates for home ownership, we have been welcomed so graciously into the Habitat Family. The amount of support extended by all staff, volunteers, the family service committee, and sponsors has been so kind. They have made this process [of home ownership]—that could be perceived as overwhelming—quite seamless. Habitat has removed many barriers in accessing home ownership for myself as an Indigenous woman who has faced systemic barriers my whole life.” says Danielle.
“Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services is pleased to be a part of Danielle and her family’s journey in finding safe and affordable housing, especially at a time where housing is crucial to our health and safety. A home isn’t just a physical structure; it’s security, it’s health, and it’s a place of well-being. Assisting community members like Danielle in finding a home is important to us and we look forward to continued partnerships with Habitat Sault Ste. Marie and Area and creating future homes together.” states Justin Marchand, Executive Director at OAHS.
While this is the first time OAHS is partnering with HFHSSMA, this collaboration is not uncommon across Ontario with builds in Northumberland, Ottawa and Peterborough. OAHS provides safe and affordable housing to urban and rural indigenous people living off-Reserve in Ontario. OAHS serves 10,100 people every single day and has assisted with over 1,300 people in becoming homeowners in Ontario.
“During these uncertain times access to affordable housing is more important than ever. We believe everyone has the right to safe, decent, affordable housing and are happy to welcome Danielle to Habitat Homeownership” – Claudette McFarling, chair of family services relays.
HFHSSMA helps local families by providing them with affordable – not free – homeownership. Houses are sold to future homeowners like Danielle at market value, with special conditions including interest-free, geared to income payments. These mortgage payments help HFHSSMA to further its impact within the community by building more homes.
“Creating stability, and a safe secure home that my children can identify with has always been at the top of my priorities. As an adult, I have forever longed for a home of my own. To be able to secure a mortgage, to build equity, and to have that stability. Habitat for Humanity has really broken a cycle for myself, and for my children.” says Danielle.
Even during the most difficult of times, Habitat for Humanity is committed to building homes with families like Danielle’s in their mission of affordable homeownership. The application process for Habitat’s 2020 build on Oakwood Street has closed. Seventy-four expressions of interest were submitted and Habitat family #12 will be announced in the near future.