Debbie Ziolkowski

Families move into new Habitat for Humanity homes

Two families are officially all moved in to their new Habitat for Humanity homes

Two families are officially all moved in to their new Habitat for Humanity homes.

The duplex at 480 Hilchey Road was turned over to the second family during a ceremony Saturday morning.

Debbie Ziolkowski was given the key to her new home which will house herself, her sons Nick, 18, and Matt, 15 as well as daughter Caitlin, 20 whenever she comes home from school.

On the other side of the duplex is Carolin Laughington and her teenage daughter Bailee. Laughington moved into her home a couple of weeks ago.

But last weekend it was Ziolkowski’s turn to unlock the door to her new home.

Several Habitat volunteers who helped build the home turned out for the celebration which was hosted by Ron Freeman, past acting executive director for Habitat and past board chair for Habitat for Humanity.

Freeman thanked the countless volunteers and local businesses who helped contribute to the build which cost Habitat around $200,000.

“It was a community effort, lots of people have donated time and materials to this and their sweat,” Freeman said. “And that sweat included Deb’s. This is not a free house for her. Everybody thinks that Habitat gives away free houses. We do not.

“She had to put in 500 hours of sweat equity, she had to work and she’s still working to finish the house. And as well she now becomes the proud owner of a mortgage,” Freeman added. “Albeit it’s an interest free mortgage but it is a mortgage she has to pay back based on the fair market value of the home.”

Monthly payments towards the loan are based on approximately 30 per cent of gross monthly household income.

Because the loan must be paid back, those chosen for a Habitat home must have a regular income that is not Employment Insurance or Income Assistance.

Successful applicants must also have full custody of at least one child under the age of 18 and there has to be a demonstrable need for adequate shelter. During last Saturday’s move-in ceremony, Ziolkowski and her children were not only presented with the key to their new home but also several symbolic gifts. They were given a loaf of bread so that they always have something in the freezer, as well as a container of salt – the spice of life – so that their lives may always be rich with flavour. Ziolkowski was also given a pink tool kit to help her maintain the home, as well as a Bible because as Freeman said, “man does not live on bread alone.”

Ziolkowski and Laughington’s new home becomes the second Habitat for Humanity home in Campbell River. The first duplex, on Maple Street, was built in 2007 after the city donated the land, then valued at $60,000, to Habitat for Humanity. A third build is in the works as the city agreed last year to donate another site, at 129 Westgate Road, which is valued at $95,200, to Habitat for Humanity.