One-year-old Beyla Ouellette-Landry can’t wait to move into her new house.
Neither can her parents. Beyla, her two siblings, Makoose, 5 and Cambria, 3 and her parents Jean-Claude Ouellette-Landry and Morgan Ranseth are the recipients of Habitat for Humanity NWT’s second building project in Yellowknife.
This will be the first house the family has owned, and Ranseth says the children are as pumped as their parents.
“This is all she’ll remember, right?” said Ranseth. “They ask me to come for drives to see the new house and they’re like “Is it ready yet? Can we move in?’ … It makes it that much more exciting to see them, and you know just to have a solid place to call home for them.”
Volunteers, including the Ouellette-Landrys, broke ground on the Old-Town housing project in June. So far, the family has put in 500 hours of volunteer labour alongside their neighbours. The project is also supported by corporate donations of money and materials and professionals – such as electricians – volunteering their time.
Robert Charpentier, treasurer for the Habitat for Humanity NWT board, says there is a huge need for affordable housing in Yellowknife.
“This is a way for people that are working to move up into housing instead of continuing renting,” he said.
Ouellette-Landry, red seal certified parts technician, told Yellowknifer home ownership has been a goal for the family, but always just out of reach.
“You’re trying to get ahead but the cost is just so much up here, especially if you have a family to take care of,” he said. “It all adds up really really quickly.”
Through the program, homes are sold to the selected family with no down payment, financed with no-interest mortgages. The family will be required to cover the monthly mortgage payment and all other expenses.
“That’s the really nice thing,” said Ouellette-Landry. “It’s all volunteer and donated, it’s just nothing but good energy around the whole thing. It’s perfect.”
The 1,450-square-foot, three-bedroom home will be ready for the family to move in this winter.
“It’s hard to put into words just how grateful we feel to be given this opportunity,” said Ranseth.
Since Habitat for Humanity NWT launched in 2011, the organization has completed one duplex that now houses two families.
The NWT chapter is part of the internal Habitat for Humanity organization, which has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, giving more than two million people a place to call home since 1976.