Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff
Habitat for Humanity Stratford-Perth’s partner families can rest easy knowing they’ll have good neighbours when they move into their new homes in late August.
The Lisqum-Lara family – Crystal and Oscar and their two kids, Bianca, 5, and Brayden, 3, joined Tricia Daum and her two sons, Ethan, 14, and Jake, 12, at the future site of their semi-detached home on Railway Avenue in Stratford Monday, shovels in hand, to begin what is sure to be a busy four months ahead.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s been great,” said Tricia, whose family learned it had been selected by Habitat just two months ago.
She has been volunteering at the Restore on Saturdays while her kids hand out Restore flyers, knocking off over 100 of the 500 sweat equity hours that are expected of each Habitat family in return for a home to call their own and an interest-free mortgage.
Tricia said she and her kids are looking forward to the simple things like a backyard with grass that they don’t have at their present home.
“Renting you’re paying for not having anything. It’s such a great feeling to finally be able to own a home,” she added.
The wait for construction to begin on her new home has been significantly longer for Crystal Lisqum and her family. They were announced a 2013 partner family at Habitat’s annual general meeting last spring.
The family has already completed 450 of its sweat equity hours, Oscar working at the Restore and Crystal helping with habitat fundraisers.
“I thought it was going to take forever ... but it has really flown by,” noted Crystal. “It feels real now. It has for a while but I think today really solidified that feeling for us.”
While her kids have big plans for their new house – Bianca wants a pink room and Brayden wants a dog – Crystal said she simply wants a family home and the stability that comes with one.
“We’ve moved to Stratford from Windsor and climbed the ladder of where we need to be to own a home, and it’s good to feel like we’ve accomplished something,” she added.
The build, the second consecutive in Stratford after last year’s raised bungalow on Home Street, will be the 14th and 15th for Habitat Stratford-Perth.
According to administration coordinator Chelsey Gordon-Edmonds, finding an empty lot in Stratford to build has become increasingly difficult. In the end, the Railway Avenue site was secured with a home that needed to be demolished.
Gordon-Edmonds added Habitat is working with the city to try to secure irregular lots in new housing developments for future builds.