Wel­come home

Fam­ily mov­ing into first of planned 10 houses in neigh­bour­hood

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW WAGSTAFF awagstaff@cit­i­zen­record.ca Twit­ter: @ADNan­drew

Heidi For­tune still held the key to her new home as her daugh­ter eight-year-old daugh­ter Jayla ran from room to room, and vis­i­tors fil­tered through the door­way to have a look.

She had just been handed the keys by the project’s com­mu­nity steer­ing com­mit­tee co-chairs Jor­dan Burkhardt and Tr­ish Ste­wart in a spe­cial cer­e­mony hosted by Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity Nova Sco­tia.

“It feels amaz­ing to be a home­owner,” said For­tune, watch­ing her smil­ing daugh­ter and wait­ing for 10-year-old son Isa­iah to ar­rive. “I’ve been wait­ing a long time to give them a sense of sta­bil­ity.”

The new home on Lit­tle River Road is the first of 10 af­ford­able homes planned for the neigh­bour­hood, a devel­op­ment an­nounced last Septem­ber. The Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity project pro­ceeded with sup­port from Hous­ing Nova Sco­tia, the Town of Ox­ford, and Ox­ford Frozen Foods, as well as CORCAN, the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram of the Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice of Canada.

For­tune and her ex­tended fam­ily have so far put in 125 of the com­mit­ted 500 hours of hard work to the project, all while she has been rais­ing her fam­ily, work­ing and go­ing to school. The fam­ily moved in on Sun­day af­ter host­ing an open house at the home on Thurs­day evening and all day Fri­day and Satur­day.

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity home own­er­ship is all about strength, sta­bil­ity and self-re­liance, ac­cord­ing to Marie-France LeBlanc, CEO of Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity Nova Sco­tia.

“A strong, sta­ble home will build a strong, sta­ble fam­ily and a strong, sta­ble com­mu­nity,” she said. “This is the first of 10 homes we hope to have on this land here, which will be a huge ad­di­tion to this com­mu­nity.”

The project to build this home has been un­der­way for the past six months, but the idea of build­ing af­ford­able hous­ing on the for­mer school prop­erty along Lit­tle River Road is one that has been de­vel­op­ing for the past six years, ac­cord­ing to Ste­wart, who is also mayor of Ox­ford.

“Since 2009 we have been slowly etch­ing away at this dream of a Habi­tat com­mu­nity here in our town, and to­day here we are,” she said. “One house at a time, and our com­mu­nity is grow­ing. We’re giv­ing work­ing fam­i­lies a chance to suc­ceed.”

Fam­i­lies for Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity homes are se­lected on the ba­sis of need, their abil­ity to re­pay a no down pay­ment, no-in­ter­est mort­gage, and their com­mit­ment to vol­un­teer 500 hours of sweat equity to­ward their home and com­mu­nity.

The plan is to build two homes per year over four years.

AN­DREW WAGSTAFF – THE CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity Nova Sco­tia CEO Marie-France LeBlanc an­nounces the com­ple­tion of the first of 10 planned af­ford­able new homes in Ox­ford while com­mu­nity steer­ing com­mit­tee co-chair Jor­dan Burkhardt looks on with home­owner Heidi For­tune and six-year-old daugh­ter Jayla.

AN­DREW WAGSTAFF – THE CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD

Heidi For­tune and her six-year-old daugh­ter Jayla ac­cepted the keys to their new home from the Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity project’s com­mu­nity steer­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers Jor­dan Burkhardt and Tr­ish Ste­wart dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the home on Thurs­day, April 7.

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