Christmas will be a little bit homier this year for the Martin family of Sidney.
They are the latest family to take possession of a home from Habitat for Humanity and they couldn’t be more pleased.
“I can finally have a real bath knowing that there’s going to be hot water,” said Tanya Martin. “At the old place that we were renting the hot water wasn’t consistent, and there wasn’t a proper bathtub, so it was sort of tough, especially on the kids.”
There was also the problem of no insulation in the walls and a distinct lack of space.
“Now all three kids get their own bedroom and Ryleigh couldn’t be happier,” said Tanya.
Ryleigh is the youngest of the Martin’s three children.
According to Yolanda Meijer, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Victoria, that’s what the program is all about. Meijer and a group of well-wishers were on hand on Saturday morning to officially turn over the home to the Martin family.
“This is the eighteenth home that we’ve turned over in the Greater Victoria region and we have plans for a lot more,” said Meijer. “It’s a way to give people a chance for decent shelter … a way for them to help themselves.”
Meijer stressed that Habitat homes are not in any way charity.
The program is designed to allow families who would not qualify for a traditional mortgage to buy the home at fair market value from Habitat with an interest free mortgage.
“The amortization is flexible and changes with household income,” said Meijer. “We set a cap of 30 per cent of income for shelter and the payments are based on that formula.”
In order to qualify for a Habitat home, families must also contribute 500 hours of sweat equity into the construction of the next home for another family.
But the Resthaven Avenue house that the Martin family is making their home is not a newly-constructed structure.
It was actually built in 2008 and sold to another Habitat family.
“That family’s life circumstances changed and they no longer required the Habitat program. In cases like that, the families can sell the home back to Habitat and use the equity that they’ve built up in the home. We then refurbish the house and turn it over to a new family … giving them a hand-up to affordable home ownership,” said Meijer.
Anyone interested in making a donation or volunteering for Habitat Victoria can contact them at 250-480-7688, or for more information go to their website at www.habitatvictoria.com.
— Tim Collins/News staff