Habitat for Humanity
449 Eagle Street
ph. (905) 868.8722
fax (905) 868.8724
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday 8:30am am - 4:30 pm (except Wednesdays)
Wednesday 8:30am am - 8:00 pm
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (except Thursdays)
Thursday: 9:00am - 7:00pm
BUILDING HOMES - BUILDING HOPE
If you had to choose between buying food, medicine, and clothing or putting a roof over your familyâ€™s head, which one would you choose?
Over 112,500 local area families in the communities of York Region â€“ Markham, Newmarket, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, King, Whitchurch-Stouď¬€ville, Aurora, East Gwillimbury, and Georgina, and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury face this question every day. Home is something we often take for granted during our daily lives. It provides us shelter, warmth, and security as we raise our families. However, many of our friends and neighbours struggle to provide this necessity of life for their families right here in York Region and Bradford West Gwillimbury. That number is continuing to grow as home and rental prices continue to skyrocket. In fact, from 2001-2006, the low income rate grew by 55% in York Region.
This housing crisis has also had a significant effect on our community as a whole. According to the 2006 Census, York Region had the lowest proportion of rental housing (12%) in the GTA. Approximately 58% of renters and 54% of owners were spending a third or more of their income on housing in 2001. (The maximum allowed by mortgage lenders is 32%) A family that spends more than the affordability threshold of 30% has difficulty paying for necessities such as food, clothing, education and transportation.
According to Valerie Preston, York University professor of geography and first author of a regional study on homelessness, â€śThese are people at risk of losing their homesâ€¦ a rise in interest rates, a change in employment and they can no longer afford their homes.â€ť
The most vulnerable to poverty are newcomers, single parents, children, minorities, seniors, those who have suffered abuse or are on social assistance, and those who live with mental and physical disabilities. Low-income residents in York Region wait, on average, 8 years for a social housing unit and 15 years for a unit designed for people with special needs.
Families and individuals in York Region who become homeless may be able to go to emergency shelters for temporary housing but the number of beds is limited. In 2008, York Region had 75 permanent Emergency Shelter beds and 51 additional beds for women who are victims of violence.
The social and economic distress resulting from this will have a profound impact on the health and welfare of our community. One of the key indicators of this impact is crime. In York Region, crime is on the rise, with a 7.2% increase in crimes against persons and a 3% increase in crimes against property.
Why does affordable housing make a difference?
Since 2001, the number of children in York Region living in low income households has risen by an alarming rate of 62%.
In a study by Lisa Harker, a British housing expert, research indicated that poor housing conditions increase a childâ€™s risk of severe ill-health or disability by up to 25% during childhood and early adulthood. This, subsequently, impacts the strain on our regionâ€™s already taxed social, economic and health care systems. In addition to health implications, living in poor housing conditions as a child results in a higher risk of low educational achievement. This in turn has long-term implications for economic well-being in adulthood because of the increased likelihood of unemployment or working in unstable or low-paid jobs. Adults with basic skills are five times as likely to be unemployed as those with average skills.
Habitat for Humanity York Region is making an impact by providing clean, decent, stable housing for families. As a result, the support that we receive from our donors, community, partners and sponsors will:
Children will benefit the most from Habitat Homes. As Lisa Harker explains, â€śChildhood is a precious time when our experiences shape the adults we become â€” but children who grow up in bad housing are robbed of their future chancesâ€¦.â€ť
Those chances are stolen by the detrimental impact poverty housing has on everyday life.
Providing a Hand Up â€¦ Not a Hand Out
Habitat homeowners are selected on the basis of need. They must be living or working in York Region/Bradford West Gwillimbury for a minimum of one year, live below the poverty line, and reside in inadequate housing. Selected homeowners are required to provide a minimum of 500 hours of labour (Sweat Equity), and be able to take on a 25â€“35-year no-profit, no interest mortgage to repay the original fair market value of their home.
Habitat for Humanity York Region holds the mortgage on their home, which represents the independently appraised fair market value of the home at the time of sale. If the family income increases, so does their monthly mortgage payment. These payments then go into a revolving building fund, which allows Habitat York to build more aď¬€ordable homes for further families in need in our communities.
With the generous support of donors and sponsors like you, Habitat York has helped 10 local area families in our communities realize the dream of home ownership. There are Habitat Homes in the communities of Newmarket, Keswick, Mount Albert and Markham. As the fastest-growing community in Ontario and the third fastest in Canada, the need for aď¬€ordable housing in our communities of York Region and Bradford West Gwillimbury is continuing to grow exponentially.
Your support is needed now more than ever