Chelsey and Owen’s story is a testament to the power of having a place to call home. Becoming Habitat homeowners has been nothing short of a dream come true for them, akin to winning a life-changing lottery. “My father still lives in the same home that I grew up in. There are so many memories. Knowing that you can come back to the home you grew up in, for holidays and family dinners – there’s comfort in that. And that’s what I want for my family,” shares Chelsey, her voice resonating with a sense of hope and determination.
Their journey is one of blending families and aspirations. With five children, creating a harmonious home was a challenge, given their initial limited space. However, when their eldest daughter, Bailey, left for college, the opportunity arose for them to finally live together under one roof. Yet, the reality of sharing a confined space with four growing boys, aged 10, 14, 14, and 17, presented its own challenges. Finding a larger, affordable apartment proved elusive in their search.
“It’s been a struggle. We live in a rental and while it’s not the worst of neighborhoods, it’s not the best either. There’s limited housing in our area and we just couldn’t come up with a down payment to buy a home,” Chelsey candidly admits.
Years ago, a glimmer of hope emerged when a college classmate shared information about Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program. Back then, Chelsey, a single parent, applied but faced income constraints that didn’t meet the qualifications. Fate had different plans, and two years later, Habitat for Humanity Cornwall & The Counties reached out to Chelsey and Owen. This time, with their combined efforts, they were accepted into the program.
Their future home’s location holds a deep significance. The land, donated by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, holds ancestral connections for Owen, a member of the Band. Situated across from Pilon Island, where Owen’s grandfather once resided, the land echoes with cherished memories. It was the very spot where Owen’s grandfather used to pick him up before embarking on canoe journeys to spend time together. This land, infused with heritage and history, was the meeting ground for generations. In a touching ceremony attended by Mohawk Grand Chief Abram Benedict, the family broke ground on their new home last October.
Despite the pandemic causing delays, Chelsey and Owen’s family is on the cusp of completing their 500 mandatory volunteer hours. Their commitment to Habitat’s cause led them to volunteering at the Habitat ReStore and participating in various fundraisers. Owen, a skilled carpenter, crafted over 50 birdhouses and feeders during the summer of 2020, which the family then painted and donated to the local Habitat ReStore for sale. As construction finally begins, they eagerly await their chance to contribute on the build site.
For Chelsey, homeownership embodies safety, security, and the promise of a better future for her children. It’s about anchoring her family in a forever home where memories will flourish. The anticipation of extra space, privacy, and the ability to create a vibrant garden fuels their excitement. Their new dwelling will be a sanctuary for family gatherings, a place for extended family to congregate during holidays and dinners. Importantly, it will be a launchpad for their children’s dreams and aspirations.
“Homeownership gives us stability. I want my kids to get a good education. To do well and succeed. That’s my dream,” Chelsey expresses, encapsulating the essence of their journey – a dream of stability, growth, and creating a legacy of hope for generations to come.Our goal at Habitat Saskatchewan is to continue to help families like Chelsey and Owen’s for years to come, and in order to do that, we rely on donors to help support our mission. If you’d like to contribute and make a difference, please visit our donation page.