The final triplex on Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North’s 477 Hilchey Road construction project was completed quietly, without the large community celebration typically held pre-pandemic, but for three local families, it will be remembered as one of the most significant days of their lives.
Afton Frost and her son; Lori-Dawn and Jamie Kowal and their four children; and Deanna Fitton and her daughter are the newest residents in this 11-home Habitat community.
For Lori-Dawn Kowal, a Habitat home means finally being able to prioritize her health. Lori-Dawn has chronic health issues. With so much of their income going towards rent, she wasn’t always able to purchase the appropriate food she needed for pain management, or medical devices necessary to prevent frequent ambulance calls.
“I was putting my health on the back burner because we needed to pay bills,” she said.
All three families put in 500 hours of volunteer work with Habitat, and will now pay an affordable mortgage geared toward their income. While each family had their own unique struggles that stemmed from a lack of safe or affordable housing, they all have something in common: the desire to create a stronger and more stable future for their children.
“I can’t thank Habitat enough for granting my son and I the opportunity for a hand up. Between the build site and the ReStore, I have met the most incredible people,” said Frost. “This is the start of our new chapter, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Staff at Habitat VIN credit the support of their many volunteers, donors, sponsors, and the City of Campbell River with making it possible to complete these homes despite challenges of the pandemic.
With the homes at 477 Hilchey Road completed and final landscaping under way, Habitat is looking ahead at their next project in Campbell River. Campbell River City Council recently approved the first and second reading for Habitat’s proposed rezoning of 461 Hilchey Road, and it will go to public hearing on May 10th. Habitat VIN hopes to build twenty affordable homes on this one-acre property.
If you want to volunteer, make a donation, or apply for housing, visit Habitat VIN’s website at www.habitatnorthisland.com.
About Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North
With the help of volunteers and Habitat homeowners, Habitat for Humanity builds safe, decent, and affordable homes. Habitat VIN has brought the community together to build 39 affordable homes on North Vancouver Island since founding in 2004. Because of families who eventually sold their homes back to Habitat after an improved financial situation, we have been able to serve a total of 42 homeowner families. Habitat’s model of affordable homeownership bridges a gap for low-income working families by providing them with the opportunity to purchase their own Habitat home and build a better future for their family. Habitat VIN operates two ReStores, one in Courtenay and one in Campbell River. ReStores are home and building supply stores that accept and resell quality new and used building materials. Shopping at a Habitat ReStore is a socially conscious decision, as funds generated are used to fund local Habitat for Humanity home building projects. It’s also an environmentally conscious decision, as much of what is sold is product that is new, gently used or customer returns that would otherwise end up in a landfill.