10 Winnipeg families get keys to new Habitat for Humanity homes

Ten Winnipeg families have a new place to call home after Habitat for Humanity and government partners handed over the keys to a completed affordable housing development on the city’s northern edge Thursday.

For Gemina Rose, the new home will mean having a safe place for her daughter to live.

“We’re going to look out the window and say, ‘This is our home,'” Rose said.

The project, named Templeton Avenue Development, consists of a total of 10 duplexes in the city’s Amber Trails neighbourhood. The 10 families, representing half of the eventual occupants of the development, received the keys to their new homes in a ceremony at the RBC Convention Centre Thursday morning.

Rose immigrated to Canada 10 years ago from Seychelles.

“We moved to Winnipeg because [my daughter’s] deaf, so she could have a better education,” Rose said.

Like all Habitat for Housing recipients, Rose put in 500 hours of work either at the build site, or volunteering for the organization.

Normally families receive the keys in a ceremony at their new home, but due to concerns about COVID-19, it was held in a larger space with the families together, said Candray Mehkary, chair board of directors for Habitat for Humanity Manitoba.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” she said.

“This is why we do what we do. It is the epitome of the journey with Habitat, is to present the keys to the family, where they can go on, build strength, stability and independence through an affordable home ownership opportunity.”

This architectural rendering shows the Templeton Avenue Development, consisting of 10 duplex homes built through a partnership between Habitat for Humanity and the federal government. (Submitted by Habitat for Housing Manitoba)

Families that receive a home must have one member who has held a full-time job for at least two years and have good credit. They also must have children.

Once they have completed 500 hours of volunteer work, Habitat sells them the home at fair market value, assessed by an independent appraiser. The families pay an affordable mortgage, with annual payments set at 27 per cent of their gross annual income and with no interest charged for 15 years. No down payment is required.

All the homes in the Templeton Avenue development consume 25 per cent less energy and have zero carbon emissions, according to a news release from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Since 2019, the federal government has contributed nearly $3.8 million to Habitat Manitoba through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, Thursday’s news release said.

That funding includes $1.2 million from the Black Families Funding, a partnership between the federal government and Habitat that aims to build 200 new homes for Black families across the country.

This year will set a record for the most homes built by Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, with 35, Mehkary said.

Habitat for Humanity Manitoba is about to embark on their largest build in its history — 55 homes on Pandora Avenue W. in Transcona.

“We are very close to starting the infrastructure on that and it’ll take us about three years to build that project,” she said.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

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