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Victorian family now have a safe home to call their own

Community goodwill has given single dad Michael McGlashan his own home for the first time since a 2010 work injury cost him almost everything.

“This house is a blessing,” he said as picked up the keys on Wednesday. Mr McGlashan bought the house at 95 per cent market value with a no-interest loan from international charity Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s a beautiful home,” he said. “It’s just a shame they can’t do this for everyone.”

As part of the charity’s model he worked 500 hours of “sweat-equity” on the home, building frames and installing his kitchen. “It’s a really good model because it gets people involved,” he said.“You really feel worthwhile. I’m an ex-plumber – that’s why I kind of knew what I was doing.”

Six years ago Mr McGlashan was married, working full-time and paying off his mortgage. But an injury cost him his business, house and marriage. The 55-year-old went back into the rental market as he juggled part time jobs with raising 12-year-old daughter Kaini alone.

“It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done – and I’ve dug sewers. “Being a single parent, it really opened my eyes to the hard work men and women out there do.”

The new Herne Hill resident said securing his daughter’s future had become his life’s focus.

“I’m grateful for every moment I have with her.”

Mr McGlashan has worked and completed qualifications in disability services while using YouTube to learn everything from braiding hair to sewing for his daughter.

“I had to change careers,” he said. “My body is too damaged to go back to the tools.”

Mr McGlashan said he would never have bought another home without Habitat for Humanity and local businesses and groups.

“None of the banks would have looked at me. For the last six years I’ve paid rent but that means nothing to them. It’s just about someone giving you the capability and trust to do it.”

Habitat for Humanity’s Philip Curtis said the charity’s model provided “hope for disadvantaged families and a pathway out of poverty.”

“It is ‘a hand up, not a hand out’,” he said.

The charity has built 56 houses for disadvantaged families in Victoria and hopes to build another 44 by 2020, with loan repayments capped at 25 per cent of household income.

This article originally appeared in the Geelong Indy 15/12/2016

Find out more

Are you interested in volunteering in Australia on one of Habitat’s building projects or Brush with Kindness programs? Contact our state offices to find out more about current volunteer opportunities.

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