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Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex celebrates 83rd home

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Just in time for the holidays, Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex (HFHWE) celebrated its 83rd home dedication ceremony on Wednesday.

It’s the third and final home to be built on Henry Ford Centre Drive in the past year.

“It's perfect!” exclaimed nearby neighbour Sarah Laliberty.

To protect the identity of the new homeowner and their family, the keys were presented to Laliberty who took part in a similar dedication ceremony in Ford City herself nearly two years ago.

“It is a big game changer,” she said. “It's very awesome and right before the holidays, it's the best.”

In a release, HFHWE officials said eight homes had been built in Windsor’s Ford City neighbourhood since 2019, housing 25 children and their parents.

“Habitat’s model is unlike any other affordable housing option,” said Lindsay Lovecky, board chair, HFHWE.

“Partner families help build their own homes and purchase them through a mortgage with monthly payments geared to their income. This allows families to build equity for their future and helps reverse the cycle of poverty,” Lovecky added.

“We're just really proud to be here,” said Fiona Coughlin, executive director and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex.

“Each time we dedicate a house we're making a difference.”

“It's not just one house and it's not just one family. It's every time we bring a family, we bring hope to a whole community and a neighbourhood,” Coughlin said.

“We're proud to build on infill lots that help bring density to neighbourhoods that need it,” she said. “Bring families that are homeowners and taxpayers into the community. And we also try to partner with the community as well to do revitalization efforts.” 

Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex celebrated its 83rd home on Dec. 13, 2023. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)

According to Coughlin, Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex has also contributed to the neighbourhood by participating in many of the community’s events while also enhancing the Ford City Community Garden with a pavilion build and the rebuild of several garden beds.

“We have to build to meet the needs of the community and neighbourhood where our families are going to live. So a lot of the houses that we build are consistent with the neighborhood and the look and feel of the neighborhood. We try to make sure that the house is built as suitable and appropriate size for the family.”

The dedication ceremony took place one day after the Canadian federal government said it was reviving a revised version of its wartime housing design catalogue to speed up housing construction efforts across the country in 2024.

Coughlin noted Windsor will host Habitat for Humanity’s National Conference in 2024, bringing with it 400 housing professionals, suggesting any effort to increase housing is welcome.

“Any solution to housing we applaud,” Coughlin told CTV News. “If we can work on ways that we can streamline processes sure I support them.”

Following the dedication ceremony, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said he is intrigued by the federal government’s proposal, with consultations starting next month.

“I think it's not a bad idea. Let's get that process moving forward. Let's figure out what those new templates look like. But ultimately, it depends on available land, and that land has to be serviced. And so there's a number of things that have to come together but it's certainly an important piece of the pie and I think it's a useful step,” he said.

“Right now the supply and demand is still a huge mismatch out there in the community and it's not just in Windsor-Essex, it's across Canada. So that that supply and demand mismatch means that people are paying more just for the value of the land before they put the house up. And so, the part that the federal government is proposing with the wartime houses and standard templates, actually will help move that through the process more quickly, if the land is available.”

Habitat officials said they too want more land to build as they look towards the future.

“We definitely need that and we know that there is municipal land, provincial land and federal land and everybody's looking at ways to free that up,” Coughlin said.

“All of it is keeping an open mind, being innovative, and looking at partnership and that's how we're gonna grow. We're only going to move the needle on housing and homelessness through partnership.” 

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