On Friday, December 19 2016, we unveiled two more new homes on Drysdale Road in Spryfield to Nova Scotia Partner Families. The Lumsden family of three and the Apostolakos family of four were presented with the keys to their very own homes as volunteers, sponsors and supporters looked on.
The construction of the Habitat duplex in Spryfield would not have been possible without the support and generosity of Title Home Sponsor Delta Barrington and Halifax Hotels – a partner of Habitat Nova Scotia’s for more than nine years.
On hand to help celebrate the event was The Honourable Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax. Mr. Fillmore had the honour of presenting the keys to each family as they entered their completed homes for the first time.
“The team at Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia have done it yet again,” said Mr. Fillmore. “With determination, compassion, volunteerism, and a clear understanding of how housing can change a family’s health, hope and happiness, Habitat’s volunteers have built another home for two deserving families in Spryfield.”
Among the generous supporters of this build is the Province of Nova Scotia through Housing Nova Scotia, which provided a grant of $25,000 per home. “We are always happy to see families own their own homes,” said Joanne Bernard, Minister responsible for Housing Nova Scotia. “Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia plays a key role in addressing the barriers to homeownership in our province and we’re pleased to support this project.”
The City of Halifax also continues to be highly supportive of Habitat Nova Scotia, and Council’s unanimous approval of two motions this week to increase affordable housing units in Halifax by 5,000 over five years is a testament to their commitment to participate in a solution.
“We all recognise the growing need for safe, healthy homes here in Nova Scotia and across Canada,” said Marie-France LeBlanc, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia. “We believe our organization is uniquely qualified to be a bigger part of the solution to this need. Our homeownership program is a proven model, here, across Canada, and around the world. We help families help themselves. With the help of our volunteers, we help families create a strong foundation for their children and their future. Strong, stable homes build strong, stable communities.”
Families for Habitat for Humanity homes are selected on the basis of need, their ability to repay a no-down-payment, no-interest mortgage, and their commitment to volunteer 500 hours of sweat equity toward their home and community.
“We’re so relieved to be moving into our home in time for the holidays,” said Lisa Apostolakos, the new owner of one side of the duplex and single mother to three teenage daughters. “We were living in an unfit apartment, in an unsafe neighbourhood and the building was in desperate need of work. Since being diagnosed with a chronic illness, the apartment was putting more pressure on my daughters to look after me, rather than the other way around. I’m so thankful for this opportunity, and that my three daughters will have a safe and healthy place to call home – one they can be proud of.”
The other side of the duplex will be occupied by Angela Lumsden and her two young children. “To know how many hearts and hands helped build this house makes it that much more special and meaningful – I am so overwhelmed with joy and feeling so blessed,” said Lumsden. “I am so grateful to everyone that took part in building my home. And I am so thankful to Habitat Nova Scotia for the hand up they gave my family.”
At Habitat for Humanity, we know that homeownership makes a real difference in the lives of our partner families. They are healthier. Their children are more apt to play sports and obtain a post-secondary degree. They experience more stable employment, with stronger income. And they are more likely to volunteer, donate to charity and vote at election time. According to a 2015 Boston Consulting Group study for Habitat for Humanity Canada, every dollar invested in the Habitat homeownership program initiates four dollars of benefit to society.
“Habitat Nova Scotia is so pleased to help give two more Nova Scotia families the opportunity to have a safe place to call home, and we have an aggressive goal of helping many more,” said LeBlanc. “This is the beginning of a much bigger project for us – we plan to build a 95-home community behind the current Habitat homes on Drysdale Road in Spryfield. There are a lot more families that need a hand up to safe, healthy, affordable homes.”
Habitat Nova Scotia will begin the public consultation phase of the application process of the community development in the new year.