Cole family move into Habitat for Humanity home ahead of holidays
Christmas came early for Dale and Kristie Cole and family as they received the keys to their new home on Thursday morning.
The house built at 505 Wellington St., in the city’s north end, marks the fourth home built by the Peterborough and Kawartha Habitat for Humanity organization this year.
For the Coles and their daughters Bianca, 16, and Amelia, 13, it means they’ll have an extra-special holiday season this year.
“We are beyond thrilled that this has come to the end,” said Kristie. “It was a long road but I was so amazed how many people in this city and county came forward and helped.”
Without the support of Habitat for Humanity and the many partner agencies, the Coles say that home ownership would never have been a possibility.
“We outgrew the situation we were in and it came down to a down-payment thing,” said Dale, who admits he thought they would be in their rental unit for the rest of their lives.
“A year ago we were talking and both said when our kids grew old, this is where we would retire,” he said. “Then our daughter saw the ad on TV and we called them (Habitat for Humanity) and the rest is history.”
This is the 32nd home that the local Habitat for Humanity group has built and they have ambitious plans for 2018, aiming to build six more homes. Organizers say the homes not only provide a safe space for a family to grow, they help ease the current strain of the competitive rental market.
“For people to be moving from a rental situation into home ownership is always a success story,” said Rebecca Morgan Quin, the housing division manager with the City of Peterborough. “It also means that a unit is now available to another lower-income household to rent.”
The announcement comes at a time when advocates working in the housing industry say there is a “housing crisis” in Peterborough, with rental vacancy rates falling to one percent and below, an all-time low.
“We need more affordable housing,” says Sarah Burke, chief executive director for the local Habitat for Humanity. “With the vacancy level below one percent, these are dangerous, dangerous levels that we’re taking about. That’s why the shelters are at an all-time high. We need to get creative and we need to get going on making more units affordable.”
Burke praised city staff for beginning public consultations this week and planners are looking at drafting new bylaws to allow homeowners to open up secondary suites in spaces like their basements, and encourage further rental possibilities.
“It will obviously take time to build (these apartments) and to jump through all the hoops but we can’t really take action until the bylaw passes,” said Morgan Quin
The secondary suites draft bylaw is expected to come before council early in the new year.