Tammy Isaachsen and her family can’t wait to spend their first Christmas in their new home.
Isaachsen, her daughter Makenna (11) and son Declan (8) received the keys for their new home on Glenn Fields Road in North Cowichan from Marcel Aubin, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island, in a special key ceremony on Dec. 10.
The home is the HFHMVI’s first build in the Cowichan Valley.
Isaachsen said she began Habitat’s multi-phase application process more than six months ago.
“I was very surprised and excited when I was told that my family would be getting the home,” Isaachsen said as friends, family, local politicians, business owners and volunteers milled about after the ceremony.
“We had been living in a rental in Cowichan Bay for the last seven years. This will provide us with an incredible financial opportunity and it will change my family’s future for the better. I want to thank Habitat for Humanity and everyone else involved.”
Isaachsen and her children were chosen as a Habitat partner family in part because their existing rental home conditions were not suitable for Declan who has a bone condition which makes him short in stature.
The HFHMVI has been able to adapt certain aspects of the home to support Declan to live as independently as possible as he gets older; including integrated step stools in the bathroom cabinets, lower light switches and adjustable shower heads.
While Habitat for Humanity is fairly new to the Valley, Isaachsen’s family is the 24th to receive a Habitat home on Vancouver Island since the non-profit organization, which has branches in 70 countries around the world, began on the Island in 1994.
Like other Habitat families, Isaachsen’s family will benefit from the no down payment, interest free and affordable payment mortgage offered by Habitat.
Isaachsen and her extended family and friends also contributed to the build as part of the mandatory 500 volunteer hours that partner families are asked to complete.
“It’s been an incredible experience to work on the house with Habitat and have my family and friends help as well to build a home that will better accommodate my son,” she said.
“It’s really a dream come true, and something that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. I’m grateful to Habitat for the opportunity to purchase a home that not only suits our family’s needs, but will be a safe, stable, and affordable home to live in.”
Isaachsen’s new three-bedroom home is part of a duplex built by Habitat at the site, and the family for the other, four-bedroom, section of the building is expected to be chosen by the HFHMVI’s family selection committee early in the New Year.
Aubin said the building project has been a community effort with more than 35 local businesses and countless individual volunteers contributing to the two homes.
“It’s amazing to have completed our first build in the Cowichan Valley,” Aubin said.
“We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the support of the local community and are very grateful to all the businesses that worked with us, helping us to keep the home affordable by providing free or reduced cost services and products.”
The HFHMVI’s next build in the Cowichan Valley will be a six-home complex on Jubilee Street in Duncan.