Oxford County was proud to attend the official Habitat for Humanity ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday, December 1, 2022, in the Town of Tillsonburg.

ground-breaking ceremony with people holding shovels to the ground at habitat event in Tillsonburg

This project was made possible thanks to the partnership between Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario, Hayhoe Homes, the Town of Tillsonburg, and Oxford County.

Melissa and her daughter Brooklyn will be the proud new owners of this home, which is expected to be completed in 2023. The highlight of the ceremony was when Brooklyn took to the microphone with her mom to offer a heartfelt thank you. Melissa looks forward to raising her daughter in a safe, decent, affordable home in Tillsonburg. She says she will always remember the day when she found out her application was accepted.

“I only have one question for you. How would you like to be a Habitat for Humanity Homeowner?” I will remember these words for the rest of my life. These are the words that changed the cards I had been dealt and gave my tiny family the opportunity for stability. Finally, the one thing I have longed for so badly in my life – stability. The opportunity for affordable home ownership was out of my reach, but Habitat for Humanity did the unthinkable for us – they are making it happen. There will never be enough words to show my gratitude. I can barely think about walking through the doors of a home that I own, where no one else can tell us we have to leave, without my eyes welling with tears. All I have ever wanted for Brooklynn is for her not to feel the same way I did as a child. For her to feel at home, stable, and secure. For her to know that she can ALWAYS come home – and now for the first time, I KNOW I will be able to provide that for her.”

A recent study from Habitat for Humanity Canada finds Canadians rank affordable housing as the third most important issue facing Canada today, behind inflation and healthcare. Addressing the housing crisis and preventing homelessness was also listed as a key priority in the 2022 Oxford County Budget Survey. Manager of Housing Development for Oxford County Rebecca Smith says partnerships like this one with Habitat for Humanity Heartland are so important.

“The profound need for affordable housing can’t be addressed by one agency alone: Habitat for Humanity provides a tremendous service in coordinating community efforts and funding so that families can fulfill their dream of living in their own home. Congratulations to Melissa and her daughter! Their story offers hope to others and shows why we must continue to work towards safe, affordable housing for all.”

Habitat Heartland is looking for more community members to volunteer to help build Melissa’s home. Those interested in volunteering can contact the Habitat Heartland Volunteer Coordinator for more information at volunteer@Habitat4Home.ca.