Part of the University Avenue Project 

First time for a virtual dedication

Recently, staff and volunteers of Habitat for Humanity Northumberland and representatives from municipal, provincial, and federal governments virtually dedicated the third unit at the University Avenue project in Cobourg. In their dedications, they welcomed the Speechley family to their new home. Throughout the week, videos were filmed and posted to recognize the contributions of volunteers, sponsors, partners, and donors over the 4-year process that led to the completion of the third of four units in this project. 

This is the first time that Habitat Northumberland has dedicated a finished project virtually. Typically, dignitaries, staff, volunteers, sponsors and the media are invited to the house alongside the new homeowners to celebrate the completion of the home. With the COVID-19 pandemic, like so many events, the dedication had to be virtual. This presented an opportunity to share the dedication with a larger audience. “Not everyone is able to attend a dedication ceremony so this way we can spread the love online with the greater community,” explains Executive Director Meaghan Macdonald. “It’s really nice to be able to connect with all of the people who were attached to this project.” 

In 2017, Habitat Northumberland started this project with the purchase of a semi-detached house located at 22/24 University Avenue from Trinity United Church at a very reasonable price. Habitat purchased the property with the intention of renovating the existing houses and building at least two additional units on the back of the property to create a multi-unit affordable housing development. The renovation of the two homes started in the fall of 2018 and the construction of the two additional units started construction in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, completion of these units was delayed. 

A key partner for this project is Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation who, through the Co-Investment Fund. By investing in this project, Habitat brings the Federal government one step closer to creating 414 new housing units across Canada and lifting hundreds of families out of housing need as part of the National Housing Strategy. 

Over the course of 2020, volunteers were limited on the construction site and as a result Habitat needed to rely on a small group of volunteers supported by contractors and our construction team to ensure the completion of this unit. “The past 15 months have created challenges we didn’t foresee,” says Macdonald, “but everyone involved stepped up during this uncertain time to ensure that the Speechley family became homeowners this month.” Keri and Fiona Speechley have been a partner family with Habitat since 2017. During that time, they completed the sweat equity hours required for homeownership as well as participated in the homeowner education program. 

As new homeowners, the Speechleys will pay affordable monthly mortgage payments with no interest or down payment. This money will be invested into Habitat’s “Fund for Humanity” which is used to build the next Habitat homes in Northumberland County.

The remaining unit at 22/24 University is forecasted to be completed by the end of the summer. Habitat Northumberland has two additional projects on the go within the County which are projected to be finished later this year. 

To view all of the dedication videos, including a tour of the completed home, please visit https://www.facebook.com/HabitatNorthumberland/. For more information or to stay updated with Habitat for Humanity Northumberland’s upcoming plans, please visit the website at www.habitatnorthumberland.ca. 

submitted content/lightly edited

#universityavenue, #habitatforhumanitynorthumberland

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