Habitat For Humanity partnership making homeownership a reality
Shemsu and Meka left Ethiopia more than a decade ago seeking to build a family and create a better life. Their journey led them to Canada and eventually to Calgary Housing Company (CHC).
And after spending the last four years renting a home managed by CHC, they are about to take a leap they perhaps thought might not be within reach when they arrived in Canada ― they are becoming homeowners.
Shemsu has been a transit operator with Calgary Transit for the past seven years. He and his wife have been with CHC for four years but are in the process of moving to a home of their own through a partnership with Habitat For Humanity (Southern Alberta).
“We are thankful for the opportunity CHC provided our family over the past four years. It brought a new level of stability for my kids,” says Shemsu while watching his four children ages six, four, and two and a half year-old twins, play in the living room. “My oldest child lived in three places in Calgary in the first couple years before we moved into our current home. We were definitely glad that CHC helped us provide something safer, healthier, and more stable, especially as our family grew.”
CHC and Habitat are partnering to bring qualified families closer to affordable home ownership. This includes families nearing the top of the income range for CHC housing who are thinking about options for their next home.
Habitat offers the families they partner with the opportunity to own with $0 down payment on the home, an interest free mortgage with flexible repayment terms, and monthly mortgage payments geared to income. Habitat is a globally-recognized not-for-profit that works with governments, sponsors, donors, community partners, and volunteers to build affordable homes across Canada and the globe.
As part of their partnership with Habitat, Shemsu and Meka are required to complete 500 hours of mandatory volunteering with the organization. Each adult in the family completes 200 and the rest can be donated by family and friends. Shemsu says he’s spent a lot of his volunteer hours working at the Habitat ReStore, adding new skills around the home including fixing and maintaining some household items. He’s also volunteered in the community where he will be moving into, helping with manual labour like painting and framing.
“It’s been a good experience and I’ve learned a lot about the community my family and I will be living in,” he says. “It’s good to feel like you belong in the community. It has a great school and lots of space for our kids to play. We are very excited to start our life in our new home.”
Shemsu, Meka and their four children are scheduled to move into their new house in early 2018.