When Rhea reflects on life before she owned her home, she thinks of instability. She had been renting since she was 18, and her 11 year old son, Caine, had moved 14 times in his life. Frequent moving prevented Rhea and her husband, Chad, from providing a stable home for their children. Try as they might, a down payment on a home was difficult to secure, and each time they thought they were ready, home ownership remained just out of reach.
Staying in the community of St. Albert was important to Rhea and Chad, but finding an affordable home in their area was difficult. Rhea and Chad remembered that Habitat Edmonton had built the development known as Aurora Place in St. Albert, but thought that they probably did not qualify. Tjeu decided to check. When Rhea visited the website and saw an available home in Aurora Place, she eagerly filled out an application. Although Chad was nervous, Rhea was excited, and knew this could be their chance to finally own a home.
A short time after applying, Rhea learned that she and Chad would be homeowners. She couldn’t wait to see their new home, and quickly drove over for a walk around the development. She was the first of her family to step foot in their front door, and was surprised at how spacious the home was. She thought it was perfect, and when her family arrived to see their home, they agreed.
Now that they own a home, Rhea’s family has stability, and everyone has put down roots. A turntable, records, a piano, and several banjos sit in their living room, where Chad often serenades his family with his banjo playing and music. The walls of their home proudly display Rhea’s detailed and intricate drawings. Rhea’s daughter, Maryka, has collected an impressive number of Squishmallows, and Caine has made several friends in their community.
Instability is no longer present in their lives, and all four family members feel safe and secure. Rhea and Chad no longer spend sleepless nights worried about increasing rent or needing to move. They are confident in their finances, and have finally been able to save for their future.
“Habitat Edmonton has changed my life,” says Rhea, “and they’re going to change the lives of so many others.”
Listen to Rhea’s story below: