Richmond's Habitat families move into their new homes

Five deserving families in Richmond were given the keys last week to homes they could only dream of in the past.

Thanks to the incredible work of Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver (HFHGV) the families moved in last week to the new homes on Ash Street.

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The homes - built by hundreds of corporate and independent volunteers from the community, including the family members themselves, and backed by dozens of sponsors – are now an affordable place for the families to finally call home.

At last week’s ceremony, each partner family was presented with a key to their new abode.

Through HFHGV’s homeownership model, the families are required to volunteer 500 hours of “sweat equity” as their commitment to Habitat.

In doing so, their monthly housing costs are capped at up to 30 per cent of their monthly family income, with the majority of these funds being held for the family in a savings account. The funds can then be put towards a downpayment, once the family is ready to begin their transition into the regular housing market.

The five, single-family homes in Richmond took several years of planning and rezoning applications, following the initial approval by the City of Richmond in July 2015, with the project breaking ground in May 2017.

“It’s been a huge labour of love for the entire Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver family, our donors, the Richmond community, and the many volunteers that played a part in, quite literally, constructing the walls of these five homes,” said Dennis Coutts, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver.

“No single key dedication ceremony is like another – it’s the Superbowl event for our families. It’s a special opportunity for the community to celebrate them as they finally gain possession of their new homes, and we’re thrilled to offer them a stable foundation so they can continue to build better lives for themselves.”

Among the five families that moved into their new homes last week were Gumatchu Taha, his wife, Dureti Mohamed, and their three young children, who now live in their modest property.

A Richmond home is where the heart is_5
Gumatcha Taha and his family are hoping to move into their new, Habitat for Humanity home in October. Alan Campbell photo

The couple immigrated to Canada from Ethiopia.

Other families included single mom Kelly Raines and her 16-year old son, Eden, who had been in search of a safe and stable home for many years following a renoviction.

Last week also saw the five-strong Rai family move in after a turbulent period where they had 11 relocations since 2000.

“Not only are the families getting a safe, decent place to call home; they’re also learning how to take control of their finances so that one day, they can fully transition into the traditional housing market without our support,” added Coutts.

Each home is roughly 1,800 square-feet, with both a three-bedroom and two-bedroom unit – the latter unit is designed to serve smaller families with either one or two children, or grandparents that are helping to take care of the children.

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