Low-income Toronto families get keys to new homes
Published Sunday, August 19, 2007 11:02PM EDT
As volunteers put the finishing touches on their Scarborough homes Sunday, 10 low-income families could barely wait to move in and make a new start.
About 55 men, women and children were given the keys as part of Habitat for Humanity's Blitz Build.
The project, which involved more than 1,000 volunteers, was the nonprofit homebuilder's first Canadian "green" project.
The new homes are Energy Star certified, meaning they're energy-efficient. Habitat for Humanity's CEO said the designs will allow families to tread lightly on the environment and save cash.
"You can't build affordable housing if the families can't afford to operate it, so that's why we're building Energy Star-compliant homes," Neil Hetherington said.
Since 1988, Habitat for Humanity has been building accessible homes for low-income families, like Rais Ahmed's, who were given keys to their new home during Sunday's ceremony.
For the last three years, the family of seven lived in a one-bedroom apartment -- and they couldn't believe their eyes when they stepped over the threshold into their new house.
"Now is the day that dreams come true now for sure ... we are getting a key for our house here, so we are very excited," said Rais Ahmed, who spent hundreds of hours helping build the home.
Ahmed and his wife are happy to have more space -- and their five daughters already have big plans for the extra room.
"We're going to put like curtains, and some toys and pictures, and like we're going to have a clubhouse with a TV, and a laptop, and some other cool stuff," Wareesha Ahmed said.
The land for the project, at Kingston Road just south of Lawrence Avenue, was the largest such donation ever by a family to Habitat for Humanity.
The Christian housing organization has built more than 225,000 homes in more than 100 countries.
With a report from CTV's MairiAnna Bachynsky