Dear Habitat Greater Ottawa supporter,

My family’s story began in 2014, when I left my son, Owen who was four at the time, and husband Phillip, in the Philippines to come to Canada to work as a live-in caregiver. Ever since I was a little girl, I had always
wanted to live in Canada – it was a dream come true. Coming here alone was very hard. Being away from my young son and husband were hard and at times I felt incredibly lonely. It was a big change moving from the
Philippines – the culture, the food and the language were all new to me (even the freezing cold winter days!).

After three years of working and living in Canada, I applied to become a permanent resident and to have my son and husband join me. Our goal was to own our own home so that Owen would have a stable place to grow up. We moved into a 100-year-old 2-bedroom townhome in Ottawa. Our rent there continues to increase every single year, and we spend almost 60% of our income towards housing expenses and bills. There
are constant issues with the house due to its age, we have had the landlord come and fix leaking pipes from our upstairs bathroom dripping into our kitchen. We also do not live in the safest neighborhood. Recently, we bought a bicycle for our son and left it outside on our front porch. When we woke up the next day, someone had stolen it. With all the issues at the apartment, I wanted to find a permanent home for our family to ensure that Owen would grow up in a stable home and safe neighborhood.

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All donations will be matched up to $20,000
thanks to the generosity of our foundation partner!

This summer, I was talking to my coworker about how expensive it is to buy a home here in Canada. She asked me if I had heard about Habitat for Humanity. I had no idea what she was talking about, and she told me to look it up online. The next day, I researched the organization and learned that we could have a decent home with affordable mortgage payments geared towards our income. All I could think about was how our rent will continue to increase every year in our current apartment, and how eventually my husband and I may not make
enough to pay rent and save money for Owen to go to university. Phillip and I made the decision to apply to Habitat Greater Ottawa’s Affordable Homeownership Program the next day.

On September 16, 2021, my family’s life changed forever. We received a letter in the mail from Nancy in the Family Services Department at Habitat Greater Ottawa explaining that we were accepted into the program! This was also the same day as my husband’s birthday and the day we found out we were expecting our second child (we joke that this is the best day ever.) Finally, our dream of having a stable and safe place to live for Owen and our future baby will become a reality thanks to the ongoing generosity of Habitat donors and volunteers. I hope that you will consider supporting Habitat Greater Ottawa again this holiday season, so that they can continue to help more families like mine.

As part of Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program, my family and I are working hard towards earning 500 volunteer hours. My husband and I have loved volunteering at the Trainyards ReStore so far. The staff, customers and other volunteers have made this experience so fun and welcoming. My husband has also been hard at work on the build site working alongside our future neighbors. Not only is he helping to build our future home, but he is learning so many skills that can be used to do things around our house. It has truly been a rewarding experience putting hard work into our future home. 

Between working and volunteering, we are decorating our apartment for Christmas. All I can think about is celebrating the holiday season next year in our new home. As a child, my home was always busy with friends, neighbors and family coming over to celebrate special holidays and I cannot wait to do the same in our new home. Also, by having a mortgage that is geared to our income, we can stress less about making payments and focus more on spending quality time together during the holiday season.

We are all counting down the days to receive the keys to our future home. Owen is so excited to meet kids his age in the neighborhood and make new friends. Phillip and I can finally rest easy knowing that there will be enough room for our entire family and that my children will be able to go outside and play with friends in a safe neighborhood. I want to sincerely thank you for helping make our dreams come true. Now we have a place, a home, that we can proudly call our own.

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season,

Mary-Claire, Future Habitat Homeowner

P.S. This holiday season you can double your impact and help grow the number of families served by Habitat Greater Ottawa in 2022. You can make a donation using the online donation form on this page and automatically receive a tax receipt. Please consider making an impact all year round by becoming a monthly donor. As a Hope Builder you’ll help strengthen our programming and provide ongoing support for families in need of safe, secure and affordable housing. Thank you for your support.

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