A family from Curve Lake First Nation has a home to call their own thanks to Habitat for Humanity.
This is the first Indigenous housing partnership for the non-profit organization in the Peterborough-Kawartha region.
The Jacobs family was handed the key to the house on Sunday afternoon.
“This is honestly the best thing that could have happened to our family,” said Tanya Jacobs.
Tanya, her husband Duane, their four kids and their young granddaughter will be living in the home. The family of seven had previously been renting a small three-bedroom house.
“They can’t wait to be here,” said Tanya. “They’re all going to get their own bedrooms, which is nice.”
There is a misconception that families are simply handed homes by the non-profit organization. Habitat for Humanity Peterborough and Kawartha region CEO Sarah Burke says that is not the case.
“The house is built with their sweat equity,” said Burke. “They have to give 500 sweat equity hours. They also pay a mortgage at the end of the day like everyone else … This one will probably be about 25 years.”
A number of volunteers also helped make the home a reality. A total of 286 volunteers worked close to 2,000 hours combined to build the Jacobs’ new home.
The project was named Maawandoonan, which translates to “bring people together” in Ojibwe.
“Every volunteer that came out and helped (was) so friendly and fun,” said Jacobs. “This experience has been so fun.”
Habitat for Humanity selects families that are unable to qualify for traditional home ownership. Families like the Jacobs are not uncommon at Curve Lake.
“It’s very difficult in First Nations communities to get a traditional bank mortgage,” said Burke. “That’s because of the land situation. The land isn’t actually owned by the individuals themselves. It’s a bit tricky.”
Habitat for Humanity has already begun constructing a second home in Curve Lake First Nation that is expected to be finished in the fall.