Last Saturday, April 23rd, Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie & Area hosted a small Dedication Ceremony to officially welcome their fourteenth Habitat Homeowners into their new home on Wellington Street West.
Tanya Aikens, along with her son, Alexander, and grandson, Onyx, received the keys to their brand-new Habitat Home, which she will purchase at fair market value via an affordable Habitat mortgage.
“I have spent my whole adult life struggling to secure a home for my family – constantly having it be just out of reach. This is a dream come true,” says Tanya.
A number of community members stopped by in pre-arranged time slots to congratulate the family and see the home, including MP Terry Sheehan, Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Vezeau-Allen, representatives of SalDan Construction Group, Bill Webb of Tulloch Engineering, as well as staff, board, and committee members from Habitat.
The family’s new home is half of Habitat’s 2021 semi-detached build. The Aikens family’s new neighbours, the Kyle family, moved into the other half of the build last October. The homes boast a 25% reduction in energy consumption and 36% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the National Energy Code. This will result in greater affordability for the homeowners and reduced environmental impact.
“Habitat has made incremental improvements to its construction program over the last several years. The energy efficiency component of our homes reduces the overall operational costs to the families, meaning they have more money at the end of the month for things such as sports and recreation,” states Frank Bentrovato, Board Chair.
The Habitat Homes on Wellington Street West would not have been possible without the generosity of a number of donors and gift-in-kind partners and sponsors, including but not limited to: SalDan Construction Group, Soo Mill Buildall, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, Tachane Foundation Inc., Sagen, EACOM Timber Corporation, DNM Plumbing & Heating Ltd., Guzzo Electrical Contracting Ltd., Rapid City Repair, Avery Construction, Reliance Home Comfort, District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board, Tulloch Engineering, Daniel J. Fremlin Building Group LTD, GAF, RM Frolich, WSP, Area Real Estate Appraisals, Cutting Edge Designs, Whirlpool, Final Touch Property Maintenance, Mitten Building Products, Owens Corning, and CGC.
“Our community’s support of this project has been nothing short of incredible. Their kindness and commitment to supporting affordable homeownership in our community is more important now than ever before. At a time when housing is increasingly unaffordable, our supporters have unlocked brighter and more prosperous futures for both of these families,” states Chelsey Foucher, Fundraising & Marketing Coordinator.
More than $17.5 million in federal government funding has been invested so far, and more projects are in the works as the $32.4 million partnership between the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Habitat for Humanity Canada is expected to create up to 414 new homes across the country. Contributions from CMHC, provincial and municipal governments, and hundreds of donors and volunteers enable Habitat for Humanity Canada to serve vulnerable populations including single mothers and their children, Indigenous peoples, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, seniors, and veterans.
“Our government believes that every Canadian deserves a safe place to call home. Across the country, we are working with Habitat to build the safe, appropriate, affordable housing necessary for healthy and sustainable communities. Here in Sault Ste. Marie, the investments in this new home will make a real difference in the lives of one hard-working family, a place they can proudly call their own,” states Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie
“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Our Government is dedicated to helping those in need which is why we partnered with Habitat for Humanity to make a real difference in the lives of Canadians, and today, another family is realizing their dreams of homeownership here in Sault Ste. Marie. This is the National Housing Strategy at work,” states The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion.
Habitat is already looking forward to their next build on Blake Avenue, which will be a wheelchair-accessible bungalow for one family. The non-profit will be announcing their 15th Habitat Homeowners in the upcoming week.
In partnership with SalDan Construction Group, Habitat will break ground on their Blake Avenue build this spring. The home should be complete by the end of 2022.
As a non-profit, HFHSSMA relies on the generosity of volunteers, donors, and corporate sponsors to achieve its mission. If your business is interested in donating to, or sponsoring, the Blake Avenue build, please reach out to Chelsey Foucher, Fundraising & Marketing Coordinator, at email@example.com to discuss this opportunity.