Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North is accepting homeownership applications for its next build. Photo supplied

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North is accepting homeownership applications for its next build. Photo supplied

Habitat for Humanity prepares for next build in Courtenay

A forever home for some, a step forward for others

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North is accepting applications from prospective tenants to live at its 12-unit townhome development, soon to be constructed at 1375 Piercy Ave. in Courtenay.

Habitat VIN finds there are many misconceptions among families that may not realize they qualify for its affordable homeownership program.

“Our homeowners don’t fit within one description,” said Karen McKinnon, director of family services. “They’re single parents, they’re dual parents, they’re employed in our school system, they work in trades. They’re individuals who could never manage a down payment in this market.”

Potential homebuyers might be dealing with inadequate housing, unaffordable rent or homes that are inaccessible for their disabilities.

“They might be in a decent, safe home; however, their family is being hurt by the fact that they’re paying 70 per cent of their income towards housing, which is not sustainable,” McKinnon said. “What Habitat offers is affordable housing. We just had a family move in who’ve been in 18 homes. So now, I know that their children will have stability and housing.

“We see families buying RVs as backup so they don’t end up homeless. There’s a lot of stigma around that,” she added. “I challenge anyone to enter the rental market right now and not face obstacles.”

Along with a need for improved housing, eligible families will have one employed adult, at least one child under 18, and a household income between $34,500 and $62,500.

“For some of our families it’s their forever home, but for some of our families it’s just a step forward, and they might move on to different homing down the road,” McKinnon said.

For families to partner with Habitat, they must be willing to contribute up to 500 volunteer hours — which can be rewarding and help build community. McKinnon notes that people talk about being part of the “Habitat family,” in terms of socializing, seed swapping, building garden boxes and caring for each other’s children.

“Habitat isn’t just a home, it’s a community,” she said.

Construction at 1375 Piercy is expected to start late in the summer. The development will include two accessible units — a first for Habitat VIN. McKinnon notes the location is close to bus routes.

She encourages people to contact her at karenm@habitatnorthisland.com

Further information and a short eligibility questionnaire can be found at habitatnorthisland.com/apply


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