Four Grande Prairie families have new homes to call their own, after receiving the keys to their Habitat for Humanity-built homes Tuesday afternoon. They are the first of eight in a project nearing completion, which received a $980,000 contribution from the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.
It has also been very non-traditional endeavour for Habitat for Humanity, as the organization collaborated with KCM Construction and their trade partners to build each of the homes. With the completion of the remaining four homes built during this project, there will be 16 total Habitat for Humanity homes within Grande Prairie.
Habitat for Humanity Edmonton Chief Strategic Engagement and Programs Officer Melinda Noyes says it’s exciting to see families housed suitably to their needs.
“It’s absolutely incredible… we have four more dedications coming up in December, but it’s always the most touching moment when we get to hand over those keys to families, kids get to choose their rooms, and families can start moving in,” she says.
She adds there are certain criteria that a family must meet in order to be eligible for a home. These include a household income of between $35,000 and $69,000, having children, having a job, and being a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
“Once we get applications from people who meet those criteria, we do some interviews and try to select the best families. [It’s] a very, very hard process to decide,” says Noyse.
Donna Calliou, one of the new homeowners, says it was an touching day for herself and her daughter.
“Being a first-time homeowner, it is very emotional to the heart,” she says, adding the top of her “to-do” list included either a home or taking time to travel.
“We got COVID-19 so I’m not traveling. COVID-19 gave me a home and I’m pretty happy,” she jokes.
Calliou adds her new three-bedroom home is “bigger than she ever imagined,” and she intends to enjoy it for the foreseeable future. She has lived in Grande Prairie for more than 20 years.
“It was my dream, and every day I said, ‘I’m not moving from Grande Prairie,’ [so] I’m staying.”
Noyse says Habitat for Humanity currently has land for two more houses in Grande Prairie, and hopes to begin construction on those sites in 2021. As of December 2022, they will have helped 22 families in Grande Prairie get back on their feet through their affordable housing solutions.