Two fam­i­lies move into homes

Habi­tat plans to build more homes next year in Bob­cay­geon, Bailieboro, Curve Lake

The Peterborough Examiner - - Local - LANCE AN­DER­SON

Melissa Lorenz says an­other piece to her fam­ily’s puz­zle is in place now that they have the keys to their new home.

On Thurs­day, Melissa, her hus­band David and their chil­dren Ai­den, 11 and Hanna, 4, were joined by many for a Habi­tat For Hu­man­ity ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony in front of their new home on Wolfe Street in Peterborough.

They will share the semi-de­tached house with an­other fam­ily that wished to re­main anony­mous.

Fol­low­ing speeches from sev­eral dig­ni­taries, Melissa ad­dressed the crowd and thanked those in at­ten­dance for help­ing to make her fam­ily’s dream of home own­er­ship come true.

“This jour­ney has just been ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble,” Melissa told the crowd. “This is a lot of hard work and none of this would have been pos­si­ble with­out each and ev­ery­one of you. Words are not enough to ex­press the love and grat­i­tude we all have for ev­ery­one of you.”

The bonds her fam­ily has made with the home-build­ing vol­un­teers over the last sev­eral months will stay with them for­ever, she added.

“Dave and I have al­ways worked so very hard to pro­vide the best life that we can for our chil­dren … (and now) our chil­dren will have a safe and warm place to grow up and our fam­ily can con­tinue to fo­cus on our road to suc­cess ahead,” Melissa said.

The Lorenz fam­ily and the other new home­owner are the 33rd and 34th fam­i­lies that Habi­tat For Hu­man­ity has helped in the Peterborough area in 15 years, said Sarah Burke, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer with Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity Peterborough and Kawartha Re­gion.

The non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion uses vol­un­teers and com­mu­nity part­ners to help build af­ford­able hous­ing and pro­mote home own­er­ship to break the cy­cle of poverty.

Habi­tat’s phi­los­o­phy is to give a hand-up and not a hand­out to low-in­come fam­i­lies by of­fer­ing zero per cent in­ter­est mort­gages with no down pay­ment and geared to in­come monthly pay­ments.

“We part­ner with fam­i­lies to help them build and buy their own home through a unique af­ford­able home own­er­ship so­lu­tion,” Burke said.

“With sky­rock­et­ing rates and the cost of hous­ing at an all-time high, it’s no sur­prise that count­less fam­i­lies are spend­ing close to 50 per cent of their in­come on hous­ing.”

How­ever, find­ing suit­able prop­erty in Peterborough for a Habi­tat home is be­com­ing an al­most im­pos­si­ble en­deav­our, ad­mit­ted Burke. She said ev­ery­one knows how dire the af­ford­able hous­ing mar­ket is in the city, but they of­ten don’t re­al­ize that find­ing af­ford­able, empty land is just as hard.

“So we (were) so for­tu­nate to have a part­ner step up to help us ac­quire this prop­erty (on Wolfe Street),” Burke said.

That’s why it’s im­por­tant for Habi­tat For Hu­man­ity to find com­mu­nity part­ners who are will­ing to help, she added.

“We need other agen­cies that have land, we need gov­ern­ment that owns land or other prop­er­ties be­cause we’re will­ing to take down build­ings or ren­o­vate build­ings. We need peo­ple that have larger pieces of prop­erty who are will­ing to se­vere and al­low us to have a par­cel,” Burke said.

But that hasn’t stopped Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity.

Burke added they have been able to plan for two new mul­tiu­nit projects — one in Peterborough and an­other in an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in the county — that, when com­plete, will pro­vide at least 45 af­ford­able hous­ing units. Burke said she is look­ing for part­ners to help with those projects as well.

Be­yond that, Burke said Habi­tat is work­ing on build­ing five more homes next year — two in Bob­cay­geon, two in Curve Lake and one in Bailieboro.

LANCE AN­DER­SON PETERBOROUGH THIS WEEK

The Lorenz fam­ily, Melissa, David and their chil­dren Ai­den, 11, and Hanna, 4, re­ceived the key to their new Habi­tat For Hu­man­ity home on Wolfe Street on Thurs­day.

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