October 15, 2019 – London, ON - Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario is excited to partner with Jennifer’s family and with Lindsie’s family at the key ceremony for two homes at 32 and 34 Forbes Street and with Karin's family and Arber and Lumturi's family at the groundbreaking for two homes at 36 and 38 Forbes Street on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at 11:00AM.
 
We are so grateful to the many corporate sponsored teams who showed such enthusiastic support for our homeowners during the Canada Life Build and Community Build”, said Brian Elliot CEO, Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario. “This is a particularly exciting day as we celebrate the beginning of the final two homes to be built on this plot of land, bringing the total to 17 affordable homes for Londoners right here on Forbes Street. From an empty lot to a thriving community of diverse families building strength, stability and self-reliance for their futures.

Lindsie is a single mother taking care of her 16-year-old daughter Mariah, 12-year-old daughter Leah and two-year-old son Noah, while trying to save for the future. They currently live in a three-bedroom basement apartment, with Noah sharing a room with his mother. This close loving family enjoys spending time together and Lindsie prides herself on creating a very warm and welcoming home environment in the small space that they share. Lindsie is a Personal Support Worker at the hospital, working shifts to support the family. She says, “This opportunity means a new beginning and prosperous future for my family.”

Jennifer is grateful for support from Canada Life for the construction of her home. “I have been a single mother of this loving little brood *forever*," says Jennifer. “Ilia has been an artist since she was a very little girl and will continue to pursue her passion in post-secondary studies. Mateus also has an eye for the arts and is pursuing studies in photography. I am very proud."

Jennifer has worked as a counsellor and advocate in the violence against women sector for many years and is very passionate about her work. Currently her rent and living expenses take up most of her income and emergencies are going on a credit card she works to pay down throughout the year. There is no wiggle room, even though she is great with a budget. Things are very tight and at times stressful.

The new Canada Life – previously London Life – recognizes the issues facing Canadians, and the communities where they live, can be complex, and often connected to each other. So, their approach looks at all the ways they can support communities to help them reach their potential, every day. Through their Stronger Communities Together™ program, they’re addressing key issues in the community, at the national, regional and local levels.

In 2015, Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario partnered with Homes Unlimited to purchase a parcel of land where a vacant school sat in the middle of a residential area. This underutilized property has been developed into affordable rental units by Homes Unlimited and Habitat has divided the remaining property into 17 lots on which affordable homes were built. 15 homes are complete, two more will be complete by end of 2019 or early 2020.
 
The Manor Park Project means the revitalization of a once dormant property that is now affordable homes for 17 families, (70 people, of which over 35 are children). This community development project has mobilized volunteers, donors and community members to provide solutions to affordable living in the Manor Park community.
 
The Manor Park Project is a $3.4 million investment in affordable housing.  As the Manor Park families pay back their mortgages the funds are reinvested into the Habitat build fund. As a result, in the next 50 years this long term investment will support 272 additional families (over 1,000 people and over 500 children).

38 Forbes will be home to Arber & Lumturi and their two children, Liza and Lir. According to Arber, “I am working very hard to provide for my family. Having a son with autism makes it impossible for both parents to work full time. Our son, Lir, is very dependent on us, and because of his condition he misses a lot of school hours. We are living in a small apartment. There is not enough space and it gets very hot during summer. Having our own home means the world to us! Having enough space for our children would be a dream come true. Our children will be very happy to have their own rooms and a yard.”

Jeff Fung of Forever Homes says, "We are honored to partner with Habitat for Humanity and do our small part in giving back to the community that has given us so much."

The home next door to them, the National Bank Build, will belong to Karin and her three children, Keyshawn, Zachery and Victoria. Karin is very excited to be a Habitat homeowner.  She says, “As a mom to three beautiful, intelligent children, I struggle to give them everything they need. This has proven to be difficult at times, especially when I think back to my childhood. I grew up in a small town where neighbours talked to each other, everyone knew who I was, it was ok to play in the front yard, safe to walk to the store at age 9. Today, however, has been very different. 

I currently live in a small 3 bedroom condo, old and unfinished with a non-legal bedroom in the basement and no privacy and no yard. The idea of marking my kids’ growth on the doorframe is a simple though not a possible thing to do in a rental. Memories that are made in a home that is never truly mine. 

As a one income family, the idea of owning my own home is (was) all but a daydream. The task of saving up enough money for a down payment is impossible. I do not like to deny my children things, but there are times when I have had to say no, simply because we are not allowed to do it (making renovations to the condo to better suit us) or it’s not safe to do so. 

I have not been able to send my kids out to play in the front yard as mine is currently a parking lot. The kids love playing sports such as soccer and basketball. People would tell me to move and rent somewhere else so that we could have more room. I looked. Looked for almost four years and discovered that moving was not financially feasible. The idea of paying $1,800 plus utilities is not something I choose to do. 

I do not want to have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. 

We love to socialize and have family gatherings. That is not possible where we currently are because I just don’t have the room. Having to tell my brother and his family that they can’t stay here while they are visiting from B.C. broke my heart. Same with my sister and her family. I miss the family dinners we used to have. Family is the backbone of everything and when it’s removed it is disheartening.

My Habitat home means I can finally put down roots, refer to this as home (not a rental), grow old in it, watch my family expand, breathe and enjoy the little things we take for granted.”

National Bank is a leading player in the country’s economy since 1859 and are committed to promoting the well-being of the communities it serves. When it comes to raising funds to support community activities or addressing urgent humanitarian needs, the Bank can always count on its branch network across Canada to rally for the cause just as they did for Karin and her family.

The public are invited to come out and celebrate with us on October 23 at 11am.

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Who: Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario
What: Key Ceremony - 32 and 34 Forbes Street, London and Groundbreaking 36 and 38 Forbes Street, London
When: October 23, 2019 - 11:00am
Contact: Habitat Heartland – Bethany McLachlin, Family Services and Marketing Associate familyservices@habitat4home.ca 519 455 6623 #214
Lindsie with Leah, Noah and Mariah
Jennifer with Ilia and Mateus
Karin with Zachery, Keyshawn and Victoria
Arber and Lumturi with Lir and Liza
Mission of Habitat for Humanity – Heartland Ontario
To mobilize volunteers and partners in providing opportunities for families to achieve affordable and sustainable homeownership as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty, and strengthening communities. By mobilizing volunteers and community partners, we can build affordable housing and promote homeownership.