It was a joyous Thursday afternoon as two families were given the keys to their new Habitat for Humanity homes in Thorold South.
Habitat Niagara builds affordable homes, providing no down-payment, interest-free mortgages to qualifying families who would otherwise not be able to purchase their own homes.
Every Habitat homeowner must commit to completing 500 volunteer hours, which are often spent building the homes.
Habitat Niagara broke ground on the Thorold South project at the start of December, and it only took six months for the houses to be move-in ready.
There were many local councillors present at the home dedication celebration on Thursday.
Councillor Carmen DeRose gave a short speech, on behalf of the City, in which he thanked Habitat Niagara for all that they do.
CEO of Habitat Niagara Mark Carl also gave a few words of thanks.
“We are delighted to have three local families move into safe, decent and affordable homes,” he said. “Housing is a basic human right, and these families’ lives will be transformed because they have a stable place to call home.”
Then it was time for the key ceremony.
“The thing about these keys is that they’re the keys to these families’ homes,” Carl explained. “I want you to pass them along and I want everyone to say a blessing, reflect, think about what these homes mean to these families. Take a moment when you have the keys.”
Since 2019, the federal government has made a total funding commitment of $670,745 towards Habitat Niagara projects, including the Thorold project.
The not-for-profit has the ambitious goal to build 30 homes in Niagara over the next five years.
Mavis, a single mom of three, said she had been looking forward to this day since she was informed last May that she was accepted into Habitat Niagara’s homeownership program.
“For me and my family, to have a place of our own to call home — I’m so excited,” she told the crowd. “We are so happy. Allow me to express my gratitude to anyone who put a hand to that building.”
The second home in Thorold South will have a family of seven move in: Ajmal, Zarlasht and their five children.
“It’s a great feeling to own something,” said Ajmal. “We are excited because our children will feel safe.”
A third family, Fanor, Claudia and their two children, recently moved into a Habitat home in Niagara Falls and they were also honoured during Thursday's celebration.
There is currently a third home being built in Thorold South and Habitat Niagara is hoping to have it completed by September.