Habitat For Humanity Now Accepting Applications For Two Homes In Bala

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A rendering of the future Habitat for Humanity house at 1016 Elm Street in Bala. The house will be semi-detached, offering two affordable, accessible homes to local families
A rendering of the future Habitat for Humanity house at 1016 Elm Street in Bala. The house will be semi-detached, offering two affordable, accessible homes to local families. Image courtesy of Heather Scott

In a year when available, affordable housing across the province is at an all-time low, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North (Habitat OGN) is building futures in Bala. Habitat will be constructing two energy-efficient, universally accessible, two-bedroom homes at 1016 Elm Street, and the search for the newest Habitat homeowners has begun.

The universal design of the Elm Street project is a plan that can work for everyone. It makes housing accessible to those with physical disabilities. It also allows people stay in their homes as circumstances change, without expensive renovations.

“These are well-designed, accessible homes that have curb appeal and fit with the neighbourhood surroundings,” says Kimberley Woodcock, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North. “But more importantly, the single floor design is ideal for families that include a member with mobility challenges and allows family members with different needs to live comfortably together.”

Anyone in need of affordable housing with accessibility features, who can make affordable mortgage payments and is willing to actively partner with Habitat can apply to become a Habitat homeowner.

“Need and the ability to make affordable mortgage payments are certainly fundamental elements, but partnership with Habitat is just as critical,” Woodcock said. “Habitat homeowners must commit to a contribution of 500 volunteer hours – on the build project or at the ReStore. But just as important is the family’s willingness to represent Habitat with kindness, integrity, and a passion for community. Habitat homeowners are our greatest ambassadors.”

Details about the program, process and eligibility criteria are available online by clicking here.

With over half of rental households in Muskoka spending more than 30 per cent of their income on accommodation, a rapidly aging demographic and a critically low supply of affordable, accessible housing, Habitat for Humanity is anticipating overwhelming interest in this project. For this reason, the application process is administered in phases. The first phase is determining eligibility.

To find out if you’re eligible, review the eligibility criteria and complete the first step in the application process on Habitat OGN’s website.

If you’re selected to become a Habitat Homeowner, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North will work with you through the application process, and to prepare you for the responsibilities of homeownership. This may include budgeting, home maintenance, neighbourly conduct and more.

“Becoming a Habitat homeowner is an impactful journey,” Woodcock said. “According to a survey of Habitat homeowners, Habitat for Humanity families are more physically and mentally healthy. They are more involved in their community. Parents achieve better employment outcomes, and children reach higher levels of education. Not only do our 2022 Bala homes ensure a low cost of operating, but we are removing environmental barriers to provide a sense of possibility, freedom, and hope for people currently isolated and limited by inaccessible housing.”

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