Habitat for Humanity hands over keys to family of three in Tyendinaga
Just in time for her birthday, a mother of two is now the owner of a new home in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Amy Maracle and her two children were handed keys on Thursday in a ceremony by the Habitat for Humanity, Prince Edward-Hastings chapter.
Maracle, who had been desperately searching for a home, is ecstatic the day is here.
“It’s become a reality, now that it’s finally done,” says Maracle.
Before winning the home, the 35-year-old was living with her parents and five other people in their basement. Now, her children — nine-year-old Kaylynn and four-year-old Cameron — both get their own rooms.
“We have a loss of words,” says Maracle.
“I’m so happy, I couldn’t wait to come and get here,” says her daughter Kaylynn.
The home was built thanks to a first-ever partnership between Habitat for Humanity PEH and the Mohawks of the Bay of the Bay of Quinte. The Maracles are the second of two local families that have been given homes through the charity. In late December, a family was also given a home, right beside the Maracles.
“The numbers reflect the same, whether you’re on aboriginal territory or non-aboriginal territory. There’s a huge need for affordable homes,” says Robert Clute, executive director with H4H Prince Edward-Hastings. He says the average rent for homes in Tyendinaga can go for as much as $1400 a month. On top of this, saving for a down payment can sometimes be impossible.
Because of this issue, Maracle says she was close to moving out of the region.
“It’s a blessing, really, because I never wanted to move off of the reserve,” she said. “But because of the lack of housing, that’s what I would have had to do.”
The three-bedroom home was built by community partners and funded by a number of donations. These included donations of $100,000 each from Enbridge and the Parrott Foundation, a local organization in Belleville. Those who are chosen for a home have to also put in their own work when the home is being built.
Linda Bernhardt, Maracle’s mother, says it’s amazing to see everyone come together at a time like this, helping chip in from beginning to finish.
“I think it’s fantastic how many people came out,” Bernhardt says. “Like, I love when I can look at this bannister; I know who painted that. It’s nice.”