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Home sweet home
Two lucky families chosen for Habitat for Humanity project

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 21, 2012

In an empty lot on Moyle Drive dreams are coming true. Two Yellowknife families have been chosen as the first recipients of a Habitat for Humanity home in the NWT.

NNSL photo/graphic

Sylvie Lefort, with her children six-month-old Jeremie and Riel, 9, and partner Ed Dithurbide, will be the Larocque and Allen families' new neighbours in the first Habitat for Humanity home built in the NWT. - Danielle Sachs/NNSL photo

Sylvie Lefort and Ed Dithurbide, along with their children, nine-year-old Riel and six-month-old Jeremie, have been chosen as one of the families. Charlotte Laroque and two of her children, Darla and Timothy Allen, is other family getting a new home.

Eighteen families applied for the affordable housing duplex project and after multiple interviews and a home visit, two were chosen.

Larocque said she applied at the last minute.

"I read about it in the paper and picked up the application," she said.

"I had two daughters that also applied so I kind of waited and then I thought 'why not?' and dropped it off."

Habitat for Humanity partners with families and communities to build low-cost housing. The non-profit organization helps families realize their dream of owning a home.

Habitat for Humanity NWT purchased two Moyle Drive lots for a little more than $100,000 each, according to its president, Dave Hurley. That initial fund was built through fundraising and corporate sponsorships.

He said it remains to be seen how much the homes will cost to build because he's expecting some businesses in town will make in-kind donations to the project which will bring the cost down. Families selected for a home make no initial down payment and only start paying a mortgage when the home is complete.

The group plans to start construction on a second duplex by 2014.

This will be Lefort's first house.

"I've been renting since I left my mom's," she said. "When I found out I had tears streaming down my face."

Lefort and Dithurbide said although the application, interviews and home visit were stressful, it was well worth it in the end.

"You fill out the application with your fingers crossed, hoping for the best," said Lefort.

"Obviously we were hoping to be chosen, but this is just so exciting," she said.

Construction is expected to start in early June in the Niven Lake subdivision, and Larocque said that even though there's some hard work ahead she's excited for it to start.

The two families will be buying the land from Habitat for Humanity. It's a 25-year interest-free mortgage, which goes back into a Habitat for Humanity fund to help build future homes for more families.

On top of paying the mortgage and absorbing the standard costs that come with home ownership, families have to contribute 500 hours of "sweat equity."

Family members help with the construction of the house, and other associated tasks. Painting, collecting debris, babysitting and office work are some of the tasks that can be counted toward the hours.

"Everyone is involved, you build it and then move in. From what I've been told it could start anytime," Dithurbide said.

Hurley met the two families for the first time on May 17.

Standing near the empty lot, with the wind blowing off Niven Lake, Hurley said he was excited for construction to start. "This is the first project in NWT, but it won't be the last," he said.

"What you've got at the end of the day is realizing a family's dreams. That's all that matters."

Dithurbide said he would volunteer for future Habitat for Humanity projects in the future. "They've helped us so much and I would absolutely help them continue," he said.

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