Donna and Albert sat on the floor of their empty apartment, filled with excitement and anticipation about moving. Having just received keys to their Habitat home, all their possessions were still packed away in boxes. The next day, they would move into their own home. They were homeowners; their dream for many years was now a reality.
The road to homeownership was not easy for Donna and Albert. Arriving in Canada from The Philippines over 13-years ago, they settled in a small, crowded apartment that they shared with two other families. Since she was pregnant with their first child, Donna desperately wanted to own a home, but rent and expensive down payments put homeownership out of reach. Having worked as a government employee in The Philippines, Donna knew that affordable housing programs existed and started searching for an equivalent in Canada. This led her to Habitat for Humanity and, in 2014, Donna applied for a home.
Their first application was unsuccessful, but Donna and Albert persevered and reapplied for homeownership in 2018. Again, their second application was unsuccessful. Donna was worried and discouraged, thinking homeownership was not for her family. Despite her concerns, Donna continuously checked HFH.org for available homes in their community of Slave Lake, and in March, one became available. Donna applied, and was thrilled to receive a call to let her know that she would finally be a homeowner. While she jumped for joy, Albert couldn’t believe his ears, and thought after eight long years he might be dreaming. Eventually, reality set in, and the two got to work preparing for their new home.
Donna’s and Albert’s son, Dhon, is equally as excited about their new home. Although they only visited it once, Donna noticed that he already looks happier. It isn’t surprising that Dhon is so excited, since they shared one bedroom between the three of them in their old apartment. This made life difficult, as Dhon’s parents had to restrict his noise and playtime not to disturb their roommates and neighbours. In their Habitat home, Donna is looking forward to providing her son with more freedom. A large backyard means plenty of space for Dhon to play, and his own bedroom will provide him with independence.
Donna and Albert have wasted no time in making the home their own. Beautiful flowers brightened their front porch mere hours after receiving their keys. Albert sees their home as a fresh start, and he can rest easy knowing every payment is an investment in his future. Donna can’t wait to watch Dhon play and grow, and is grateful for the safety and stability the home will bring to him and future children.
Donna and Albert haven’t kept quiet about their Habitat home. In fact, they’ve shared the news with everyone they know, and encouraged anyone in a situation similar to theirs to apply for homeownership. Albert believes that their story will encourage more families in Slave Lake and northern Alberta to become homeowners with Habitat’s help.