A groundbreaking ceremony got underway Thursday morning in south London on a pair of new homes being built by Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario for two local families.
The two homes will be located along Forbes Street, near Wharncliffe Road and Tecumseh Avenue, where several other Habitat homes have been built.
As part of the initiative, Habitat is partnering with 980 CFPL sister station FM96 on one of the houses, 28 Forbes St., which is being dubbed “The House that FM96 Built.”
Habitat says the home will be constructed using the donation of funds, materials, and labour from FM96 listeners and other local residents and supporters.
The other home, located next door at 30 Forbes St., will be built as part of the organization’s nationwide “Women Build” initiative, which sees local women come together and construct the home over the course of several months.
WATCH: Habitat For Humanity groundbreaking Facebook Live.
On hand for the groundbreaking were MCs FM96 hosts Taz and Jim, Habitat for Humanity officials, and the home’s future residents.
Jodey and her 17-year-old son Adalton will live in the home built by FM96, while Brianne and her 14-year-old son Brayden, who uses a wheelchair, will live in the Women Build home. Habitat officials did not provide their last names, citing privacy.
Speaking at the groundbreaking, Brianne said their current home isn’t accessible.
“Getting this home is life-changing for us. It means being able to safely move and transfer Brayden without hurting him or myself, and without that, I mean… it’s big,” she said.
“Being able to keep him at the house with me for many, many more years than I thought might be possible.”
In a statement to the crowd, Jodey, whose son Adalton has helped build other Habitat homes along the street, thanked Habitat, FM96, the site supervisors and volunteers for their help.
Habitat officials said in a statement that due to life circumstances, Jodey and Adalton have had to depend on co-op and not-for-profit housing to stay within budget, but have always hoped to have a home of their own, adding she has been the sole provider for her son for eight years.
Adalton was not present for the groundbreaking, but was in St. Catharines, Ont., for studies at Brock University.
“To stand on the ground that is to become our future home is so exciting,” Jodey said, adding they already felt a sense of community alongside the other Habitat homeowners. “We would like to thank our family and friends. Nothing is ever too much for any of you when it comes to helping support us, and we thank you for being there for us,” she said, tearing up.
The official “key ceremony,” where the keys to the finished home are handed over to the resident, will be held later this year.
“Last year, we had over 3,200 volunteers just on our build site, so as you can imagine, we can’t do it without you,” said Brian Elliot, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario. “We can never say thank you enough.”
Anyone interested in helping volunteer and support the builds is asked to contact Allison Kampman with Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario at 519-455-6623 (x. 229) or by email.
— With files from Devon Peacock
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