News: 47 low-income families get hope for homes

Published in the August 27 2010 issue of The Edmonton Sun. News

47 low-income families get hope for homes

Forty-seven low-income families will soon have homes to call their own.

At a ceremonial sod turning on Thursday, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton launched its largest home build in the city.

The organization announced 47 new homes would be built for low-income families in the Bergman neighbourhood of northeast Edmonton at 123 Avenue and 41 Street.

“We are very excited,” said Yassin Duale, who, along with his wife and five children, will be living in one of the Habitat homes once it’s completed.

“If you buy a house and you have low income, sometimes maintaining that can be difficult, so we are quite happy about this, we’ll be paying something we can afford.”

“I’ll be happy to move in,” said Duale’s 10-year-old daughter Sofiya.

Along with being the largest home build in the city, the project — which has been named Anderson Gardens, after the Anderson family who owned the parcel of land — is also the biggest Built Green project in Canada.

When the 47-unit development was first proposed several years ago, many community residents and at least three city councillors were against it, fearing the project would attract crime into the middle-class neighbourhood.

But Mayor Stephen Mandel said Thursday that the project will positively impact Bergman residents.

“People don’t like to see a lot of change but hopefully at the end of the day, when they see the people moving in here with young families and the participation they’ll have in the community, they’ll see this is a great advantage to have in the area,” Mandel said.

Stacey McLean, who lives in a Norwood-area Habitat home, says her life has been “changed forever” since moving in two years ago.

“My standard of living jumped over a thousand per cent,” McLean said. “I know that doesn’t seem real, but it’s true.”

“Housing is not a concern anymore,” said McLean’s husband, Ian.

Anderson Gardens will be built in three phases over the next three years.

The first phase featuring 17 homes is to be completed within the first year.

Habitat also announced Thursday its goal to begin building 100 homes each year starting in 2012.

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