Survey says home ownership improves family conditions
Published Monday, October 1, 2012 12:36PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 1, 2012 3:39PM EDT
TORONTO -- Growing up in a home built by Habitat for Humanity can lead to a brighter future for some of Toronto's poorest children, a new report suggested Monday.
Kids who spend their formative years in one of the organization's subsidized units are more likely to stay in school, cultivate a social life and develop self-confidence.
The not-for-profit organization commissioned the study, which assessed the impact that Habitat for Humanity homes have had on the city.
While the survey found families currently occupying the homes are reporting immediate improvements in their lives, the numbers suggest it's the next generation that are reaping the most obvious benefits.
Neil Hetherington, chief executive of Habitat for Humanity's Toronto branch, said nearly 98 per cent of school-aged children interviewed for the report are still pursuing their education.
Three quarters of the parents surveyed said their children's grades improved after moving into a Habitat for Humanity home, he said.
"That's something to absolutely celebrate," Hetherington said, adding no child who grew up in a Habitat for Humanity Toronto home in the past has so far applied to live in the units as an adult.
Hetherington said the homes have also offered children a sense of community that fosters self-confidence and social growth.
The report found 88 per cent of families surveyed said their children became more confident after the move, while 81 per cent reported an improvement in their children's social lives.
Young tenants are also more likely to invite friends over.
The study was compiled after interviewing a third of the 250 families currently living in the organizations Toronto homes.
Hetherington said the numbers fuel his commitment to the organization, adding the data demonstrates the organization is making a difference to a vulnerable population.
"Those positive changes are really what inspires the volunteers and certainly inspires me; knowing that we're making a permanent, lasting change in those children's lives," he said.