Ten families in Regina were handed the keys to their new homes Monday morning as part of Habitat for Humanity’s latest development.
It’s a moment Dionne Wirll and Alexander Dustyhorn have been looking forward to for the past two years.
“It’s super exciting, the kids are really excited, we’ve been waiting for this for a long time it seems like,” Wirll said.
With the wait finally over, the family of seven eagerly checked out their new home for the first time as homeowners.
“It’s kind of like we’re in shock that we get a new home that we’re going to live in and own and we get to teach our children how to own a home and manage that home,” Dustyhorn said.
The family joined nine others in the latest multi-unit project part of Haultain Crossing. It’s the largest development in Saskatchewan and the second largest in all of Canada.
“It’s the work we do every day coming to fruition to help address the issue of affordable housing in the city of Regina and improve the future for ten low income families,” Kelly Holmes-Binns, CEO for Habitat of Humanity said.
But before each of the families are handed the keys to their new homes, each one puts in 500 hours of sweat equity.
“Our families actually purchase the home at fair market value with a zero per cent interest mortgage and no down payment,” Holmes-Binns said. “We keep their mortgage payments set at 25 per cent of their household income which keeps it affordable for that family.”
Construction on phase one began in 2015 and is set to be completed in five phases. With the second phase now finished and the third underway, the final development will become home to a total of 62 Habitat partner families, something Holmes-Binns says is much needed.
“We have waiting lists of families who are wanting to join our program and waiting lists of families in need of social housing and in need of improved living conditions,” she explained.
Many local and provincial businesses also helped to fund the construction of the homes within this current phase, including the RCMP who worked on the home now owned by Wirll and Dustyhorn.
“What starts here changes the world,” Brenda Lucki with the RCMP said. “These people have a home to go to before Christmas. They get to start new memories and for the RCMP to be a part of that, it’s just such a great honour.”
The province’s overall commitment to Habitat for Humanity totals $9.8 million since March 2009. Of this, the federal and provincial governments have invested $2 million, thanks to the Social Infrastructure Fund, under the two most recent agreements between Saskatchewan and Habitat for Humanity.
The final phase of the project is expected to be complete by 2020 and cost a total of $12 million.