Habitat for Humanity families start fresh in new homes

A month ago, Meghan Marchand was spending roughly 60 per cent of her monthly income on rent.

A month ago, Meghan Marchand was spending roughly 60 per cent of her monthly income, more than a full paycheque to ensure her two boys had a warm bed to sleep in and a roof over their head.

The 35-year-old single mother was renting the upstairs of a home in Brentwood Bay with her two sons — five-year-old Carson and 11-year-old Logan.

While their house is in adequate shape, Marchand’s focus was on raising her children in a safe neighbourhood.

The remainder of her paycheque would go towards van payments, day care, insurance and other bills, leaving little for her to enrol her kids in additional activities.

“I pay a very large chunk of my income to rent costs. It’s definitely been a challenge,” she said, adding she has a better paying job now, but is still struggling.

“I found that even though I had a good job on paper, supporting two kids on that, plus the day-to-day costs, we still lived cheque to cheque.”

Heading into the new year, the family of three is starting a new chapter in their lives.

The Marchand family is one of four families that will be moving into a four-unit townhome complex on 4000 Cedar Hill Cross Rd., as part of a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Victoria.

Families were selected based on three criteria: they’re in need of an affordable and decent housing, have the ability to pay the interest-free mortgage and must partner with Habitat.

As part of a ribbon cutting ceremony last week, the families were welcomed into their 1,200-square foot homes with more than 120 people on hand for the celebration.

“I was blown away. My boys got to see it, it was the first time they had seen it since it was in the framing stage,” Marchand said, adding she’s never had anything brand new.

“They were busy squabbling over bedrooms and wrestling in mom’s bedroom.”

Marchand and her boys will be moving into their home in February.

Now, her funds are going towards an asset instead of rent, something Marchand hopes she can pass on to her boys in the future.

Yolanda Meijer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, said the annual project makes a huge difference in families’ lives.

“What I found standing in front of this group was you really see what it takes when a community comes together and builds something for you,” she said.

“Most of them never imagined it’d be possible for them to own a home in Victoria. Being able to provide that kind of stability for their children is a really overwhelming and remarkable thing.”

The homes were funded by the 100K in 100 Days campaign, in which 100 women donated $100 to the cause, and were built with the help of more than 150 donors, sponsors and volunteers.

 

 

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