BRACEBRIDGE - New homes for two families in need are getting a much-needed boost from the Town of Bracebridge.
Councillors approved a grant of up to $14,000 for a Habitat for Humanity project at 63 Wellington Street during a Wednesday, March 6 meeting. The charity’s plans for the plot involve the construction of a semi-detached building. The town grant will be used to help offset fees and charges associated with construction.
“Habitat for Humanity Muskoka is thrilled that the town has stepped forward with a leadership role such as this,” said Habitat for Humanity Muskoka executive director Ellen Frood.
Though the organization still has to sort out some red tape surrounding the build, Frood said community assistance and donations of building supplies are already being sought for the project.
“We are actively going to be seeking donations from the community to make it possible,” she said. “While we certainly budget to purchase, the less that we have to purchase and the more that is donated, the less the house costs us. It means that there are that many more homes that we can actually build somewhere down the road.”
Within Muskoka, Frood said there continues to be a huge need for affordable housing for those less fortunate.
“Across Muskoka, my understanding is there are approximately 600 people on the waitlist for affordable housing,” she said.
Having received just a handful of applications for Habitat for Humanity homes, Frood said she is hoping more families in need will become aware of what the charity can do for them.
“They go to the bank and the bank would say you don’t earn enough money and you can’t support the mortgage,” she said. “That’s who we’re selling our homes to.”
Specifically, Frood says she believes many Muskokans don’t realize what the exact requirements are when it comes to qualifying for a Habitat for Humanity home. As an example, she pointed to the maximum income cap for a two-parent family with four children.
“The maximum income is approximately $65,000. Not a minimum – maximum income. The payments are then geared to 25 per cent of their income to make that affordable for them,” she said. “For me the message is ‘I bet you think you don’t qualify, but chances are you do.’”
The two homes in Bracebridge will be the 15th and 16th homes constructed by Habitat for Humanity in Muskoka. To date, the charity has already built another three homes in Bracebridge.
Since 2003, over 900 volunteers have come together to build homes for 14 families and a total of 34 children across the district. Six were built for two-parent families, and the remaining eight were for single-parent families.