With the help of generous sponsors and volunteers, Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward Hastings helped give a local family a home to call their own for the holidays.
April Green and her three kids, Trinity, CJ and Kira, were able to move into their new home on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory after receiving the keys Friday morning.
Habitat for Humanity partnered with Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte for the first time ever for the dedication project. Habitat helps people in the community who are in unsafe or unhealthy living environments receive affordable housing. Members of Habitat and the Band Council assisted the family selection committee during the selection process to ensure worthy families were selected for the dedications.
Green was emotional in accepting the keys to her family’s home and said she was grateful for the support she has received from everyone involved.
“I’m just so happy – immensely happy. I can’t even describe the gratitude I have for all the volunteers, Habitat in general and all of their sponsors,” Green said.
Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Bob Clute explained why Green in particular deserved this home dedication.
“April applied and also had a serious need. She and her three kids lived with her parents and her sister and two children. That’s seven people sharing a three bedroom 1000 sq.ft. home. She (also) holds down two jobs,” Clute said.
“(With Habitat’s support), she can afford an interest free mortgage and did not have to make a down payment,” he added.
Manager of Resource Development at Habitat for Humanity PEH Tracey Reid says it’s an “unbelievable feeling” to see the family receive this dedication for all of their hard work and patience.
“We see this family from the beginning. We presented them with the chance to have this opportunity (to receive a new home). April’s a hard worker. She was a hard worker at this home. She gave it everything she had and that also makes it feel really good,” she said.
Reid added that Green was “instrumental” in assisting crews during the build and put in 500 total hours of volunteer “sweat equity” on the project to help cover the down payment of the home.
“To do the actual blood sweat and tears that go into this home, really makes a difference as well, because now you can say to your kids ‘this is what hard work does when you get rewarded at the end for it.”
“We’ve been here every week since the cement was poured,” Green said.
“We’ve seen literally every stage of building this house. It’s truly a dream come true (to see it finished). It’s a lot of hard work,” she added.
The generosity of sponsors like Enbridge and The Parrott Foundation, who donated $100,000 each to cover the cost of the build, State Group and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte were very significant, according to Reid.
However, the work of the many volunteers that pitched in to help with the build and the community at large shouldn’t be overlooked either.
““It’s unbelievable how the community comes together,” Reid said.
“We’ve gotten all positive reviews from this build since day one. It’s very humbling going through this process,” she added.
Much like with Habitat’s other home builds, Clute said they aimed to make Green’s home energy efficient through the use of materials that are either donated or sold at discounted rates.
“60% of energy loss is through the basement. We put 4″ of insulating foam on the exterior of the foundation and 5″ of insulation on the inside walls. We also put 2″ of insulating foam on the basement floor before covering it with concrete,” Clute explained.
“We install LED light fixtures, hi-efficiency propane furnaces and water heaters in every home.”
“It’s one thing to build a home with an affordable monthly ownership payment but it is another if a large percentage of their income has to go to operating costs. We are always driving monthly energy bills down through our building specifications,” he added.
Reid said they were “thankful” in being able to get the house finished before Christmas, so that the family can move in, get settled and enjoy the festive season for the first time in their new home.
“The target was to have the family in here before Christmas, so we’re just under the deadline,” Reid said with a laugh.
Before moving in, Green received salt, bread, flowers, wine from Habitat board members and a bible from Rev. Rod Brant Francis of the Parish of Tyendinaga as housewarming gifts.
Early in the new year, Habitat will be dedicating another home next to Green’s house to another single mother, Amy Maracle, and her two children.
“The Mohawks made the lots available to us and they were beside each other. In retrospect this is very good, as they have become good friends and as single moms they will be able to support each other,” Clute added.
That dedication is scheduled to take place on Jan. 10.