The recipient of the Dream Home Project Initiative says her life will change completely.
In October 2021, realtors Karen Kenyon and Simon Phillips of Royal LePage Parksville-Qualicum aimed to assist one person achieve their goal of being a first-time home buyer. They sought to do so through the Dreamhomes Vancouver Island Group in creation of the Dream Home Project Initiative, where the recipient would receive $50,000 to be used towards the down payment of a home in central Vancouver Island.
In order to be eligible, applicants needed to provide proof they qualified for a mortgage, and had at least $10,000 already saved toward the down payment.
Shannon McRae of Nanaimo was named this year’s recipient and was awarded a cheque on Friday, March 18.
“I was really just hopeful. I kept crossing my fingers. And I thought about it every night - positive thoughts. And now I’m a little in shock,” she said.
McRae said she thought she would make a good candidate since she’s spent years saving for a down payment and still found it difficult to purchase a home.
“It’s almost unachievable if you’re not getting help… and this opens up my opportunities - it just opens everything,” she said, adding that she’ll now be able to build equity and support her daughter, Lola Graham-McRae.
Lola had encouraged her mother to submit a video along with her application to show how deeply she loves the community of Nanaimo and how giving back as a volunteer was important to her.
Kenyon and Phillips said they received 71 applicants, and since remaining impartial was an important aspect to the initiative, five anonymous judges were assigned.
“We tried to have as many different demographics and age groups as we could,” said Kenyon, adding the judging panel did not include herself or Phillips. “We needed to maintain some distance so that it was something that we were just doing and was not to benefit ourselves.”
Both Kenyon and Phillips said a decision on running a similar iniative for next year would be made in October 2022.
“We also hope that this will inspire other people or organizations to do similar things… It’s one small way to address housing and affordability,” said Phillips.