A safe and stable home

December 6, 2023 8:49 pm | Homeownership

“She’s been through so much, and it was breaking my heart to see what she was going through.”

That’s what Irene’s mom, Brenda, told us as she reflected on what her daughter and grandsons were going through almost nine years ago.

After Irene’s marriage broke down, she and her six-year-old twin boys, who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, had no place to live so they moved in with her mom in her two-bedroom apartment. While living there, she drove her boys to school and commuted 45 minutes to work each day.

Aside from living in overcrowded conditions, her children could not go outside and play on their own without supervision. “Having special needs, the boys do not have the same sense of safety as other children,” said Irene.

Providing a safe and stable home became a priority for Irene.

Then one day, Irene’s bosses showed her an ad in the local newspaper announcing that Habitat for Humanity Niagara was renovating a home in the area and looking for families to apply to its homeownership program. Irene thought it was too good to be true. Could she possibly be selected to purchase a Habitat home and live within minutes of work and her sons’ school?

She was determined to make a better life for her boys, so she applied.

“When she told me about getting accepted to own a Habitat home it was unbelievable,” said Brenda.

Habitat homeowners volunteer 500 hours and pay an affordable mortgage – geared to their income – to buy their home at fair market value. Habitat’s model of affordable homeownership bridges a gap for people who face barriers to homeownership and who would otherwise not have an opportunity to buy a home.

“I was worried about having the ability to complete the 500 volunteer hours, I’m a single mom and work full-time,” said Irene. “But I have amazing bosses who accommodated me because they wanted me to get the house, my mom and friends also helped me out with volunteering and watching the boys. It was a struggle, but it was worth it.”

Irene has been the proud owner of her Habitat home for seven years, thanks to generous supporters like you.

Over the past thirty years, Habitat for Humanity Niagara has helped 79 families obtain an affordable mortgage, buy a safe and decent home, and make a fresh start in life. Your gift allows families, like Irene’s, the opportunity to thrive, not just survive.

“The boys are happy. They’re content,” said Brenda. “Irene is now settled, and she is doing fantastic.”

Irene and her now teenage boys have built new memories in their Habitat home.

“They love it here. They love having a yard to play in,” said Irene. “Kids with special needs can struggle with making friends, but the boys have made friends in the neighbourhood that they play with, and it’s brought them out of their shells.”

Today you will be helping families in urgent need of better housing build long-term financial security. With an affordable, stable home, families have more to spend on food, medicine, childcare, education, and other essentials. Your support can help us build more homes and in turn help more families across Niagara build strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.

Donate today – any amount helps.

“If we didn’t have this home, we would’ve still been living with my mom,” said Irene. “It has been a huge blessing to have an affordable house that I can call my own and that is mine and that my kids will always have in their lives.”

Thanks to your generosity, we are transforming lives across Niagara, helping to build a stronger community and make a real difference in society – because everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home.

With heartfelt thanks, and warm wishes for the holiday season,

Mark Carl
Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity Niagara