Families find a place to call their own

Habitat for Humanity wrapping up four-unit townhouse project in Saanich

Yolanda Meijer

Four families have a new place to call home, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Last Wednesday, the Victoria chapter of the housing advocacy group unveiled a four-unit townhome complex at 4000 Cedar Hill Cross Rd., built with the help of more than 250 donors, volunteers and sponsors. The project started last October, when Habitat acquired the land from the District of Saanich and started construction with the help of Camosun carpentry students.

“We took down the old farmhouse that had been here for many, many years and we turned what was one home into four homes,” said Yolanda Meijer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “Habitat for Humanity believes that everyone should have a safe and decent place to live.”

The four families each contributed 500 hours of sweat equity, working at Habitat events and the ReStore retail outlet as the homes were being constructed. Meijer noted that while the families pay for the homes at full fair market value, Habitat works to ensure the cost of the homes are reasonable.

“What makes them affordable are the terms of our mortgage,” she said at the event. “Habitat holds the mortgage and lends the funds at no interest. The families do not have to contribute a down payment if they are unable to do so, and every year, the payments that they make are calculated to be no more than 30 per cent of their gross household income.”

Coun. Lief Wergeland said he was impressed by the level of collaboration among the various partners who contributed to the development of the four houses. Major funders included the CRD, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Hugh & Helen Morgensen Fund, with additional support from the Victoria Real Estate Board, the Larch Fund, Colliers International, Deloitte, Emco, Hilti, Megson FitzPatrick and TD Canada Trust.

“As we look at the need in our municipality, the need in our region, the need for affordable housing, I believe the need is great,” said Wergeland. “We can’t help everyone today, but we can sure make a good start, and look at what we’ve accomplished here. It’s another good start for four amazing families that are going to have a new home.”

Amanda (last name withheld), a mother of two who will be moving her family into one of the homes shortly, thanked the community for its generosity and all the hard work they put into building the complex.

 

“I always said that the only thing I really wanted was a home for my boys. It didn’t even matter if it was big, I just wanted a home and they’d each have a room, and it’s come true,” she said. “It’s been the most incredible year I’ve ever had.”