After decades of housing stress and constant moving, single mother Storm and her family finally settled into a stable and safe, new home. With the help of Habitat for Humanity Victoria and its community of supporters, she can now provide her two children with their very own bedrooms – the perfect Christmas gift!
Earlier this month, Habitat for Humanity Victoria (HFHV) hosted their 69th House Handover ceremony, where Storm’s family received the keys to their new home in Yea through an affordable housing program. For her, it has been 3 and a half years since being accepted into the program, with COVID setbacks and challenging building conditions extending the wait.
However, this Christmas, her family will have the security of sleeping in their very own home.
“I really can’t wait for my daughter to have her own bedroom,” says Storm. “We’ve shared the same room for the last 4 years. We’ve shared the same bed…”
For Storm and her two children, 14 and 4 years old, finding a safe and stable place to live has been a huge struggle. Rentals in Victoria’s private market continue to be financially restrictive for low-income earners. According to the Rental Affordability Snapshot produced by Anglicare Victoria, single parents relying on government payments could afford less than 0.1 percent of rentals in the private market. The idea of owning a home is entirely inaccessible for someone in her position.
Storm reflects on how she’s had to move 16 times over the last 14 years, never staying in one place long enough to call it home. Keeping a roof over her family’s head is already a challenge, much less having a healthy space for her two kids to grow and create fond memories. That was until she came across Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s unique affordable housing program.
How Does Our Affordable Home Ownership Program Work?
Habitat for Humanity Victoria creates opportunities for vulnerable families like Storm’s to access a pathway into affordable home ownership. With a vision of seeing everyone having a decent place to live, they provide a hand-up for lower income families needing a home. As a successful applicant for the program, Storm gains access to a much more manageable home loan, while also contributing a ‘sweat equity’ amounting to 500 hours of work towards the building of her house.
Building a home for Storm’s family is an undertaking made possible by the generosity of a large community of people and organisations. Philanthropic contributions by individuals and organisations help fund the building project, while gifts of goods in kind by building companies subsidise the cost of construction. On top of that, a generous amount of volunteering by skilled workers, corporate teams, and community members come together to make it happen. For over 30 years, Habitat for Humanity Victoria has facilitated this circle of support and helped 69 partner families gain access to a stable and affordable place to call home.
“She is over the moon,” Storm shares on her daughter’s behalf. “She’s more excited than anyone to be finally moving in.”
This Christmas, Habitat for Humanity Victoria invites everyone to take a moment to consider those among our community who are struggling and living in housing stress. Every family deserves a safe place to spend Christmas. For many, that sense of stability remains an unattainable reality. A commitment to partner in giving, financially or practically, could have a life-changing impact on a family desperately needing a hand-up.
If you would like to volunteer to help more families like, Storms, please visit our volunteer pages; for Habitat Victoria here and for all other states at Helping Hands.