On Wednesday, Feb. 1 a family, friends and neighbours braved the cold to welcome Sean Babchuk home.
Babchuk was accepting a key for his new Habitat for Humanity home, where he will be living with his two sons. After being out of the housing market for years, Babchuk was thrust back in to a difficult and precarious situation after going through a divorce. Through that process he was unable to hang on to his house and ended up moving back in with his parents.
“I slowly built myself up and got out on my own into this rental market,” he said. “It seems to be tanking a lot of people these days. It was sort of in desperation that I came across Habitat for Humanity.”
“It’s quite the weight off my shoulders,” he said.
The key ceremony included speeches from Habitat for Humanity representatives, local government and Babchuk himself, who also received ceremonial gifts of a book, bread, salt and tools. Babchuk’s friend and new neighbour Afton Frost gave Babchuk a large wooden ceremonial key, formally welcoming him and his family to their new home.
Babchuk actually moved in to his new place in December, but the key ceremony was postponed due to snow at the time. He said it was nice to be able to have a place to live over the holidays.
“They pulled a lot of strings and there was a lot of, you know, paperwork guys to cross and they made it their goal to get me and my boys in here for Christmas and we were in mid-December and it was perfect,” he said. “Not having to worry about you know, if a landlord is gonna put your put your place up for sale or anything like that is an unreal feeling.”
Part of the Habitat for Humanity process is for new home owners to put in volunteer hours either on build sites or in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore location. Babchuk, who has experience working in construction, put his talents to use on the build site.
“I’ve always been a sort of the blue collar type,” he said. “So I grabbed my hard hat and tool belt and headed down there and I actually had an awesome time.”
Babchuk’s home is one of the units in the Habitat for Humanity complex on Hilchey Road, where a little community is starting to establish itself.
He said one of the best things about having a permanent place to call home is being able to settle in.
“I plan to live here for some years now,” he said. “I can put that picture on the wall.”
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