New Brunswick

A home for the holidays thanks to Habitat for Humanity

Port Elgin's Brenda Jones was able to celebrate the holidays in her own home after Habitat for Humanity helped her obtain a bungalow donated to the group.

Port Elgin woman says she 'cried like a baby' when she got the key to her own house

Brenda Jones and her son Ray Hepditch prefer their new home to the subsidized apartment they lived in for 15 years. Jones said the apartment was nice, but having a place of her own is much better. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Brenda Jones proudly shows off her new three bedroom bungalow, purchased with help from Habitat for Humanity Moncton.

Jones has lived in the village of Port Elgin most of her life, with the last 15 years spent in a subsidized apartment.

When she saw a flyer from Habitat for Humanity in a local charity shop, she convinced herself to apply.

"I sat down at the computer and thought, 'OK, you can do this. All they can say is no,'" said Jones.

A good fit

Chantal Landry, executive director with Habitat for Humanity Moncton, said Jones was a good fit for the program.

She proved she had "the basic criteria of needing to have safe and affordable housing," said Landry.

"And that she could financially manage owning her own home."

Jones said hearing she was approved for a home of her own was exciting and surreal.

This three-bedroom bungalow now owned by Brenda Jones was donated to Habitat for Humanity. (Denis Mazerolle/CBC)

"They called and told me I was accepted ... I was over the moon," she said.

The house that Jones received was one of three recently donated to Habitat for Humanity. Because it wasn't a new build, the process moved quickly.

"And then when I got the key to this place I cried like a baby," said Jones. 

She lives in the home with her youngest son, Ray Hepditch.

Her three older children normally stop by for Christmas dinner, but Jones said there wasn't enough room at her former apartment to host the group for the entire day.

"This year all my children were here to open gifts. It was like we've always lived here," said Jones.

Serving rural areas

Aside from the bungalow in Port Elgin, the other donated homes are in Bouctouche and Rogersville. Both are now occupied and owned by local families.

Landry said fixing rather than building homes makes it easier for the organization to serve people outside a major centre.

Chantal Landry, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Moncton, said it's important for the organization to be able to serve people in rural communities. (Denis Mazerolle/CBC )

"With this particular donation ... we got to work in communities that we don't typically get to build [in]," Landry said.

"So we can still serve families in rural areas, which is just as important because people want to stay in their communities."

Habitat for Humanity ensures homeowners pay no more than 30 per cent of their total household income toward the mortgage, insurance and property taxes. Landry said this is to ensure people can be successful homeowners.

Brenda Jones said she's still amazed every morning when she wakes up, and having this house has given her something to look forward to.

"We're going to have a lot of family get-togethers here in the summer."




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