vzsgkh · 2021-10-13

Home dream comes true for Stayner family

Thirteen-year-old Devlyn Lohnes seemed delighted Saturday that his family is one of two chosen this year from approximately 30 applicants for a Habitat for Humanity (HFH) home.

The Stayner duplex is to be built by volunteers from the South Georgian Bay affiliate of HFH.

"I think it’s just great that we’re going to finally have our own home with a backyard," he told The Stayner Sun on Saturday at the Collingwood ReStore, run by HFH volunteers.

"It’ll have more chores and stuff but at least we’ll have our own place," Devlyn said as his four-year-old brother, Dustyn, by turns, dozed and wandered about the store.

The boys’ mother, Carrie, was there to donate some of the 400 hours of "sweat equity" the family is required to contribute in addition to paying the interest-free mortgage held by the HDH.

Carrie, a Stayner native, said she was acting on a suggestion from her mother when she filled out an application for HFH consideration.

After three interviews and months of hoping, she got the call that meant she would finally get a home for her family.

"The Habitat for Humanity logo is absolutely perfect for us," Carrie said. "It’s not a handout it’s a hand up."

Stressing that she’s not looking for charity, Carrie said, "I don’t want that. That’s not me. I want to work."

"We will be paying a mortgage," she said, "but it is set up to make it attainable."

A conventional mortgage was something "the banks said I couldn’t have because a sole support parent is considered a high risk," she said. "I would have to come up with a 10 percent down payment."

The HDH holds two mortgages on the property, explained director Ralph Sneyd. The first represents the costs of land and materials that go into the home construction, although most of these costs are donated. The second represents the value of donated labour, plus the difference between the hard costs and the estimated market value as determined by a real estate appraiser.

After they pay off the first interest-free mortgage, the homeowners are not required to pay the second. It is held by HDH, Sneyd explained, only to ensure that the owners do not sell the home unless it is sold back to HDH for a price representing the actual cost plus interest. That way, the HDH can provide the home to another family needing housing.

Built by some of the 350 volunteers of the South Georgian Bay affiliate of HFH, the house is to take shape Aug. 8 to 15.

Following a June groundbreaking, the foundation will be laid and the walls prefabricated, Sneyd said.

The Lohnes should be able to move in by Thanksgiving. The name of the other family chosen for the Stayner duplex had not been announced by press time.

For Devlyn, good grades in school also count toward the sweat equity, he explained, as does time spent in any volunteer activity by his cadet corps.

"The whole family needs to be involved," said another director and affiliate secretary, Anne Marie Wright. "We’re concerned about the whole family, that they’re comfortable."

"That’s the way to put it – comfortable," Carrie agreed.

"We will be first time homeowners and it’s a relief to find out that they (HFH

 volunteers) don’t just leave you alone," Carrie said, adding that the whole process is not so daunting when there is someone there to provide guidance.

"We enter into an agreement," Wright said. "It’s like a mini-marriage."

Income from the Collingwood ReStore, along with corporate and private donations and receipts of fund-raising activities, provides money to build the homes.

"Monies raised here (in this area) stay here," said Wright.

All of the labour and many of the materials are donated.

Carrie had applied previously for an HFH home built in Wasaga Beach but was not chosen at that time. She explained that she had been working only two days a week and would not have been able to handle the mortgage payments

The Lohnes family "shone so well that the interviewers remembered them," Wright recalled.

Carrie is now working full time as a 911 dispatcher in Collingwood.

Of the HFH organization, Carrie said, "it’s phenomenal. It all started with a man who had a dream."

That man was Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity International, who passed away in February. His life and work were celebrated at a ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia on March 14, 2009.

Anyone wishing to know more about HFH and the home to be constructed at Sutherland Street and County Road 91 is invited to attend a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wed., March 25 at the Clearview Community Church across from the Stayner Foodland.