Move in day for Portage's Habitat families
Home sweet home
Lalaine Buan, left, accepts the ceremonial tool box from Charlie Clifford (right) Habitat for Humanity Portage la Prairie steering committee chair, during a ceremony Saturday morning. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)
It was an exciting day for a pair of Portage la Prairie families who are proud new homeowners.
It was move-in day for Lalaine Buan and Giselle Climie - the beneficiaries of Habitat for Humanity Portage la Prairie's latest builds, a pair of neighbouring homes located off 3rd Street NE in the city's east end. The two families were presented with their shiny new house keys at a ceremony Saturday morning.
"(I'm) overwhelmed, super overwhelmed and super excited. This is the beginning of something new for us," says Giselle Climie, who along with her boys, began the move-in process Saturday. "It has been awesome being able to build your own house. That is definitely an experience that was so, so good."
The land was sold to the Portage chapter of Habitat for Humanity at a very attractive price by the good people at Army Navy Airforce Veterans, as the organization had excess land to spare. The ground was broken in early August and hundreds of volunteer hours later - combined with sweat-equity from the receiving families - and not six months down the road and the families have brand new homes to call their own.
"It's nice to see it happening, it's been a very long process with lots of challenges and a few oops along the way but these are very well built homes," says Charlie Clifford, long-time steering committee chair of the Portage Habitat chapter. "It is a community effort that you wouldn't be able to do without, it really speaks well of the community I think."
Habitat for Humanity's unique business model allows families the opportunity of homeownership while building equity and preparing for the future. Families pay no down payment and interest free mortgage payments to the non-profit organization who in turn use those funds to purchase new land for future builds.
The latest two homes in Portage mark the ninth and tenth built under the purview of Clifford, who announced his resignation from the steering committee prior to the project's completion. Clifford has been involved with Habitat for 14 years and helped provide opportunities for many deserving local families.
"I had made that decision quite a while ago," adds Clifford. "We've been looking very hard for a year and a half to find (a replacement). If there's people that are interested it's a good challenge, it's something to do that is very rewarding and I think it's something that helps bring the community together.