Stability, independence and a place to call home

Habitat for Humanity completes two new home builds in southern Ontario

Amy Maracle couldn’t imagine a better birthday present.

“I don’t know how I’m going to top it,” she says.

Earlier this month, Maracle turned 35 in great company, and in great surroundings. First, she was the focal point of a Habitat for Humanity key dedication ceremony as one of two new homeowners—and then she and her two small children took their first steps into their new bungalow in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario.

“I’d been living with my parents in the basement with my two kids (Kaylynn, 8, and Cameron, 4), and we had no bedrooms for four years,” she says. “I was in utter shock . . . I’m not normally a crier, and I cried at the ceremony.

“When my kids got into the new house, they just ran all over the place. They were going nuts—one room to the next, to the basement, back upstairs. I’ve even seen my dog’s attitude change,” adds Maracle. “I have a big dog. Justice is a mastiff-Husky-German shepherd cross, and he’s about 80 pounds. He likes the extra room too.”

Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has strengthened communities around the world by building affordable housing for families, and now operates in more than 70 countries.

The nonprofit organization partners with working, low-income families, who purchase their home through an interest-free mortgage with no down payment. All Habitat families are required to put at least 500 hours of “sweat equity,” or volunteer labor, into their home.

In Canada, Habitat for Humanity’s Indigenous Housing Partnership has helped 191 families move in—including more than 40 on First Nations, Métis settlements and traditional territories.

For these two homes in Tyendinaga, the Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward-Hastings chapter got volunteer help from members of the military at nearby CFB Trenton, the Rotary Club in Belleville, Home Depot, and countless members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte community.

“It’s been a fabulous partnership with the Chief and the MBQ,” says Tracey Reid, manager of resource development for the Prince Edward-Hastings chapter. “They’ve been super supportive, and the businesses in the area have been too.

“I think that next time we’re back, it will be even more successful, because the community will know a little more about us.”

Enbridge works hard to be a good neighbor in the communities near our operations and projects. We’ve supported numerous Habitat for Humanity home builds across North America over the years. We sponsored the organization’s 2017 Carter Work Project in Canada. And we also helped the Tyendinaga home projects across the finish line with employee volunteer hours and a $100,000 donation, as part of our $1-million Enbridge Indigenous Home Program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Canada.

With better education, employment and health for Habitat families, it’s estimated that every new Habitat home helps create $175,000 worth of benefits for the local community.

And for Maracle, the new digs have allowed her kids to be kids.

“They love it. They don’t fight as much,” she says with a laugh. “Kaylynn is excited to have her own room—she says she can lock her brother out now.”