Receiving the keys to a new home is an emotional experience for any person, but perhaps even more so for someone whose dream of home ownership was at one little more than wishful thinking.
Two years ago, Shannon Crook, a single mother of three—including a daughter who is sometimes confined to a wheelchair due to a rare bone disease—attended a Habitat for Humanity seminar. She put in her application like everyone else not daring to hope she would be chosen.
She was, but that was just the beginning of a long process that culminated June 20 with an emotionally charged key ceremony at the new house on Tupper Avenue.
Along the way, Shannon and her family and friends met the requirement of putting in their 500 hours of “sweat equity,” which is mandatory for Habitat families.
This was habitat’s fourth Yorkton build and a unique one.
To accommodate nine-year-old Shaelyn, the build, unlike most Habitat projects included a paved driveway wide enough for Shannon to be able to load and unload Shaelyn’s wheelchair.
The entry and the entire home is all at ground level. The doorways are wider than standard as are the hallways. And Telemiracle provided a walk-in bathtub.
“It’s the house that’s going to accommodate me and my family, particularly my daughter,” Shannon said. “Like I said before, it’s a new beginning for me and my family.”
At times it must have seemed the day would never come.
“One of the things that you just realize is that there’s so many people that are involved and not a lot of it is within your own control, like the weather and volunteering,” Shannon said. “It has taken some time, but we got here today.”
Funding for the project included $50,000 from the Saskatchewan government, $10,000 from Painted Hand Casino—where Shannon works part-time--$12,500 from the Yorkton Realtor’s Association and $12,500 raised by Hyundai Yorkton from a new car raffle.
“Home ownership is a big step toward improving a family’s quality of life,” said Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit on behalf of Donna Harpauer, social services minister. “We are proud to collaborate with Habitat and its partners to help make that happen. This is an important part of our plan for growth, which includes making sure that Saskatchewan families have access to safe, quality homes that meet their needs.”
Habitat for Humanity makes its homes affordable for recipients such as Crooks by providing interest free mortgages with payments that never exceed 25 per cent of their household income. Repayments of the loans go back into building more homes for more deserving families.