Millennials come together to build homes, change lives in the GTA

Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area's first-ever Young Professionals Build calls on millennials to come together to raise funds and build homes for families in need of decent, affordable housing. Susan Hay has the story.

Habitat for Humanity – Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is calling on millennials as part of their first-ever Young Professionals Build to help raise funds and build homes for families in need of decent, affordable housing.

“The commitment can be as little as going to the website and signing up for one shift, or as big as coming and being part of our crew program,” said Ene Underwood, CEO of Habitat for Humanity – GTA

No experience needed, simply a willingness to help so parents and children have a place to call home.

“When we are done a year from now, 50 families will call Pinery Trail in Scarborough home,”  Underwood said.

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Shaleesa and Texony Rowley are the daughter and son of a hard working single mother of four, and a Habitat homeowner. The family moved into their home in Brampton in 2016.

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“It was amazing because we got to go into the house and the shelves were stocked with food, we had a Christmas tree because it was December, stockings with all of our names on it,’ Texony said.

“It was just so over the top and so amazing and we all felt so appreciative.”

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Before Habitat ownership, life for the Rowley family was a constant struggle.

“It has been a long journey. Our mom had been working multiple jobs,” Shaleesa said. “Our mother started the application process years ago, let us know about it, and we were completely supportive because it was an opportunity for mom to give us a better life that we didn’t have access to at the time.”

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For the Rowley siblings volunteering their time to help build homes means everything has come full circle.

“You’re building more than a home, you’re building a new life and giving that back has been very, very rewarding,” Shaleesa said.

Both Shaleesa and Texony have contributed towards their family’s 500 volunteer hours of sweat equity as a down payment on their home. A home that has given the Rowley’s much more than a roof over their heads.

“That affects all of us because we’re all doing better so it’s kind of dominos starting from our mom,” Texony said.

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“Habitat builds much more than a home,” Shaleesa said.

“It’s a new life and we have definitely felt that.”

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