A House of their Own

Five year old Jacob could barely wait to open the front door and race up the steps into his new home. Enthralled by fiddling with the lock, it didn’t even dawn on him that his parents, towering over him at the doorway, were just as anxious to enter the first house they can actually call their own. By the crowd including Mayor Neil Ellis and MPP Todd Smith converged on the lawn out front, passerby’s could easily decipher it was no routine house warming party Thursday.

Carrie Black’s eyes welled up with tears as the 33 year old watched Jacob and his sister, Taylor, enter the four bedroom bungalow made possible by Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward Hastings as part of its program to allow low income families to own a house. “It’s a dream come through for us,” Black said before being overcome with emotion. “Welcome to our new home.”

Sporting a smile stretching cheek to cheek, Black’s spouse Robert Lloyd was unable to speak, so she took on the duty of addressing the audience waiting to be the first batch of visitors to the Stanley Street house. “Rob and I want to thank everybody that has had any involvement throughout this whole process,” she said, while cradling, three year old Chase.

As guests streamed inside the house, which features a big enough back yard for the children to frolic, Black said “it means a better life. We can grow as a family and be happy.” Black attested her new, spacious home is several steps up the ladder from the crammed apartments they have had to share. “It was very difficult,” she said. “We did not have the room to grow, so this is a blessing. “We’ve finally broke free from that renter’s cycle,” she said. “It’s awesome.” She praised Habitat for Humanity as an “amazing” agency that assists struggling families achieve far fetched goals like home ownership. “If you can get in touch with them, I strongly advise you do and fill out an application,” she said.

Bob Clute, Habitat’s local chairman, said the plan is to continue helping more families. “We’ve built 19 homes so far and we’re building two in Trenton as we speak,” Clute said. “We’re going to build two in Belleville when that’s finished. We’re on a steady path of building somewhere between two or three houses per year.” Owned by Habitat for about 12 years, two families had already lived in the Stanley Street home before this family of five.

Clute said both of the previous families were able to withdraw the equity placed in the home and purchase property elsewhere. “This current family was selected and we completely refurbished it so they could move in,” he said. Habitat offers the mortgage at zero per cent with no down payment. “They’re making payments every month,” he said.