MELFORT — After three years of fundraising, Melfort Habitat for Humanity unveiled their third habitat home in Melfort, “Sasktel Pioneers Home”, named after the local chapter of Sasktel Pioneers.
The unveiling included a ribbon cutting and a ceremony with appearances from Rick Lang, Melfort’s mayor, and local MLA Todd Goudy.
Brent Lutz, chairman of the Melfort Habitat for Humanity board, said their goal is to get five houses built and lived in – at which point the mortgage payments will fund the construction of future homes.
“The program is intended to help people who have sufficient income that they can make regular rental payments, and have a good credit history in the past, and demonstrated that they can do so – but may not be in a position to qualify for a mortgage at the bank,” Lutz said.
“That could mean they’re short for the additional down payment, or it could be that their employment is sporadic.”
As a result of these mortgage challenges, Habitat for Humanity offers people a home at an interest-free payment rate tied to their income level. All participants of their program are required to commit volunteer hours with the organization.
“Once we get the five homes, with the support we receive from manufactures, building supply organization, contractors who reduce the rate to us, etc., and the help of volunteers we will be able to sustain the organization without doing, what I would say, is significant fundraising.”
Jamie Gagnon and her four-year-old son, Jace Gagnon, are moving into the home, with their two pets Kitty the cat and Joey the miniature-dachshund.
After a few years of trying to get a mortgage, Jamie said she learned about the program through her sister.
“She said, put your name in there, just go give it a try. I said I don’t think I’d get it, you play the lottery you never get it, right? It’s not real, it seems too good to be true,” Jamie said. “A person can do it. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from kind of thing. It’s a great opportunity.”
She said everybody wants to be a homeowner, but it felt out of her grasp.
“Having that answer or opportunity to be here, it changes your outlook. Like, ‘Wow, I finally got out of renting, this is something I’m going to be able to call mine, this is something I can call home now, it’s a beautiful feeling.”
When Jamie first walked into the finished home, she said she cried.
“It was something special to be a part of it through the whole process,” she said. “I still feel like I’m renting, that it doesn’t feel like it’s fully mine – but it is.”
To change that, she feels it will just take time.
“You come from renting for all these years, like ten years of renting. It’s just something that it’s always with you. I haven’t hung up anything on the walls yet... I just can’t make my decision on where I want things, because this is a permanent decision— this is my home.”
Jace, who was present for the ribbon cutting, said to media that his favourite part of the new house was that it is blue.