Life was about to change for Emerald and her son, Calem. Although her small apartment initially met her family’s needs, Emerald learned she was pregnant with her second son, Andre. As she looked around the apartment, she realized that the living space would be a problem and living there would become less realistic when Andre arrived. However, space was not the only issue for Emerald. She was growing concerned about her family’s health due to secondhand smoke in the building’s hallways.
Emerald knew she wanted more for her sons, but owning a home did not seem to be in the cards. All the homes she researched were out of her budget, and she feared having little to no money left over to save for her children’s future. She was being squeezed on both sides – an inability to purchase a home and costs and pressures of continual rent.
One day, while discussing her situation with her family, Emerald’s father suggested looking into Habitat for Humanity. Her father had volunteered for Habitat in Manitoba, and had seen many lives changed over the years. Shortly after giving birth to Andre, Emerald explored the possibility of home ownership through Habitat. After visiting the website and looking at available homes, she was thrilled to see the perfect home in the perfect neighbourhood. Although initially hesitant, Emerald felt deep down that this was her opportunity for a better life, and so she applied.
“It felt like everything aligned perfectly,” she says. “It was a good location, the daycare where Calem went was close by, and Mill Woods is easily accessible.”
Emerald’s father was happy to hear the news about Emerald’s application. Emerald, on the other hand, was nervous. However, her hope began to overshadow the anxiety. A short two weeks later, Emerald received the news. She was approved and it was time to begin packing!
Walking into their home for the first time was magical. Emerald noted that it “felt right”. An overwhelming sense of relief flooded her – she knew she had a healthy home with enough space for her sons. There would be no more climbing stairs to the fourth floor of their apartment building with groceries and a toddler in tow. She also has a backyard with plenty of room for her sons to play, while she works on planting a garden.
Emerald says that home ownership means waking up every day and not worrying about the future. Owning a home has given Emerald peace of mind. Although owning a home comes with responsibility, she sleeps well at night knowing that she is up for the challenge. She no longer experiences anxiety about moving or rent increases. Emerald enjoys cooking in her kitchen and is excited to purchase a grill for summer barbeques. She also enjoys the time she spends volunteering at ReStore, where she has gained valuable experience and friendships.
Emerald has noticed changes in her children since moving into their home over nine months ago. They are calmer, and she has noticed her oldest son, Calem, recognizes that their new home is his home. He has taken to calling it “10”. He remembers their unit number and often says, “Bye, 10, I’m coming back”, when they leave for the day.
Emerald appreciates everyone who helped her become a homeowner, and she encourages anyone who might be considering Habitat home ownership to take a leap of faith. If she had the option to redo her home ownership journey again, she would choose Habitat every time.