Growing up in an apartment with a hard-working single mom, all I ever wanted was for us to have a house. Not just a place to live, but a place that was ours – a home where we could paint the walls and not have to live with gold shag carpeting and noisy neighbours. But my mom, who runs her own graphic design business and is incredibly responsible with money, was told she couldn’t get a mortgage unless she had a husband or father to co-sign.
That experience is the reason I volunteer on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. Victoria has the second-most expensive housing market in the country and home ownership is out of reach for far too many hard-working families.
Take Amanda, a single mom of two young boys. Even though Amada has a stable job in health care, she’s had to uproot her family 10 times in the last 10 years because of unfit living conditions and increasingly unaffordable rents – at times spending up to 70 per cent of her income on housing. All those moves make it hard to build lasting friendships and feel connected to the community.
Habitat Victoria is hoping to change that by building a four-plex for Amanda and three other deserving families in Saanich. They’ll all receive interest-free loans from Habitat and mortgage payments will be based on income so they’re manageable.
“I never thought I’d be in a position to own my own home and provide this level of security for my family,” says Amanda. “My oldest son’s gone to four different schools already so being able to put down roots and have stability is a dream come true.”
Construction’s now under way on the four-plex, and instead of a down payment, Amanda is putting in 500 volunteer hours of ‘sweat equity’. Donated supplies help reduce construction costs, but $100,000 is needed to build Amanda’s home so Habitat launched the ‘100k in 100 days’ campaign.
The campaign, which comes to an end this month, is challenging 100 women to donate $1,000 each to help give Amanda a hand up, not a hand out. So far, more than 65 women have joined – including Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who is passionate about building affordable housing.
“What I love about Habitat is its ‘pay-it-forward’ model,” says Helps. “Mortgage payments go into a fund to help build the next Habitat home so more families can benefit.”
After growing up dreaming of having my own home, and fortunate to now have one to raise my children in, I’m also trying to pay-it-forward to help other families build a better future. Will you join me?
Find out more at: www.habitatvictoria.com/100.