Vibrant Communities In Focus
Image Credit: Frank Mazzuca
[Habitat for Humanity Northumberland]
Rosie the Riveter would be proud: the Habitat for Humanity group in Cobourg built two homes in 2006–2007 with an all-female team. The youngest member is sixteen, the eldest is seventy-plus, and the houses went to two low-income families. Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 225,000 houses worldwide; Cathy Lyons helps run the Cobourg branch of the international organization.
“We build a new home or renovate an old one. Then we sell it, with a zero percent mortgage, to a family that’s often been living in an unsafe home or a really crowded apartment. The family must commit to 500 hours of volunteer work and their mortgage payments go directly toward a future home for another deserving family. This is a hand-up, not a handout. We all need to address the growing need for affordable housing. Here, we do it one house, one family at a time. It brings people together, from the person who donates the land, to the municipality that donates the utility hookup, to builders who donate supplies, to the incredible work gang. And then, of course, we get to see the faces of the kids and their families who finally, finally own a home. It’s pretty amazing.”
Cathy says support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation is vital to the Homeownership Program — and the Brush with Kindness program. For homeowners who cannot afford needed fix-ups, the Habit for Humanity building team might build a deck, or secure a wobbly banister, or give a sad-looking house a new coat of paint.