Homeownership: even better than Hammou and Ibtissam imagined

When you think of home, you might imagine a house or a duplex, filled with the laughter and love. The house may be big, small, blue, white, and one storey, or maybe two. Perhaps it’s nestled in a quiet neighbourhood, or in busy downtown. What you imagine will be different than those around you; however, it is safe to assume that the home you imagine is a safe and affordable place to relax at the end of the day. Safety and affordability are exactly what Hammou and his family had pined for, but were not able to reach.

Every couple of years, Hammou had to uproot his family to relocate to a new apartment in Edmonton. The family could not afford the rent. He grew frustrated as his wife, Ibtissam, his son, Kareem, and his daughter, Rodinna continued to be separated from the relationships they built in each neighbourhood time and again. Hammou wanted nothing more than to provide a stable home for his growing children, but saving for a down payment on a home was a major obstacle. Until that down payment came, he would be forced to rent and then move when the rent increased.

While speaking with a friend, Hammou learned about the Habitat program. That house he had imagined – could it be possible? As a life-long renter, he was overwhelmed by the possibility of homeownership, and applied immediately. He found the application process easy and, before he knew it, Hammou was approved as a Habitat homeowner. He shared the good news with Ibtissam, “Finally, we will get a home for ourselves!”

Hammou says moving into his home was unforgettable; a moment that would be forever etched in his memory. While their old apartments had limited space, his Habitat home has enough room for a growing family of four. The neighbourhood is filled with families, so his children have plenty of other kids to play with, and his daughter’s school is a short walk from their home. The family has freedom to decorate their home as they please, and even after living there for two years, Rodinna continues to ask to paint her room in different colours.

Calmness has flooded the home and worries about the need to suddenly pack up belongings and move have subsided. The family has stability, and growing stronger and more confident each day. Hammou is grateful to Habitat for the hand-up into homeownership. The down payment obstacle was removed, and the family is now flourishing. Although he says thank you is not enough, he is eternally appreciative of how he has been empowered to build strength, stability, and self-reliance.

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