For Nen Clark and her three children, getting the keys to their new Habitat for Humanity home in North Saanich is a pivotal moment in their lives.
“Oh, this is huge for us!” Nen says. “Obviously in this market, we all know that renting is nearly impossible and to think about home ownership — especially as a single parent is — you just don’t ever think you could do it, so this is believable!”
The foursome has spent the last 10 months living with family and had to put almost everything in storage, after being forced to move out of the rental they had lived in for 10 years because the owner needed to move back in.
“We couldn’t find anything. In that 10 years, rent went up almost 50 per cent so we were looking at having to spend another $1,000 a month for the same type of rental, which is completely unaffordable,” Nen explains.
They’re the final family to move into Habitat’s latest and biggest build yet — the 10-unit Bakerview Place project.
“The land was generously donated to us by the Berglund family and then we built and constructed these 10 townhouses,” Habitat for Humanity Victoria CEO Scott Dutchak. “It’s the last one of a series of projects that we’ve been doing.”
Construction on the multi-family complex started back in 2020 and every Habitat Family has to put in 500 hours of sweat equity, either helping to build homes or volunteering in the Re-Store or the community.
“As well, every family here does have a first mortgage and they do have a Habitat mortgage as well,” Scott explains. “It is certainly not a handout, it is definitely a hand up, and we couldn’t do it without the community and support from the community.”
Building a brighter future for working families, Habitat for Humanity Victoria has now helped 39 families in the Capital Region.
“It will absolutely be life-changing!” an excited Nen says. “Financially alone, not having to spend most of my income on rent is huge. Long term, how much difference will that make? A massive difference!”
The family says they can’t wait to settle in and build strong connections in this new, tight-knit Habitat community.
“It will give us so much peace knowing that we can stay here,” Nen says. “This can be our forever home and we’re so excited to have our own home.”