Homeownership Jan. 13, 2023

Mavis' Story

Double your impact this holiday season by donating today! Thanks to the support of donors, sponsors and volunteers, Mavis and her two sons now have a safe place to call home.

UPDATE: Mavis and her two sons moved into their Habitat Home

Mavis and her sons moving in

A life-changing impact

The family recently moved into their new home, and the financial stability, physical space, sense of community and confidence she’s already gained has truly been impactful. Life changing.

No longer having to continually worry about her finances and their living situation means Mavis finally has the physical and mental space to focus on other things. With a full-sized kitchen, she’s now able to cook and prepare nutritious meals for her family. With a grant from her alma mater, Mavis intends on taking a wound care course and other hospice courses to further her education and career and looks forward to being able to save for her boys’ education.

Volunteering at the ReStore has given Mavis the confidence to be a successful homeowner. With the encouragement of ReStore staff and other volunteers she’s learned valuable skills; she recently refinished a cabinet for the house and has already painted the downstairs floor.

And she’s paying it forward: “I love everything Habitat. Even though I finished my 500 hours long ago, I continue to volunteer at the Habitat ReStore because I can pass on some of those community hours to future Habitat homeowners, and that feels good to me. Plus, it's really fun just to get out there and volunteer.”

Luke and Clyde building a nighstand.
Luke and Clyde building a night stand with the tool box that was gifted at the key ceremony.

Best of all, her boys are thriving. They have their own rooms, and her eldest son Clyde is proud to have a home and a safe space to host his friends. The family now lives around the corner from her mother, who looks after her youngest son before he goes to school, and he has playmates who live next door and in the neighbourhood.

“Homeownership makes me feel proud. I feel part of the community, I don't feel like I'm in the margins. I just have that sense of fulfillment, that sense of accomplishment or achievement. I can't explain it, it's just like I'm able to provide for my family. I'm able to contribute in a way that I couldn't before.

“This is our safe haven. I’m looking forward to making memories in our new home and no longer having to worry about the future.”

Their Journey with Habitat

Since separating from her husband, Mavis struggled to find affordable housing for her and her two sons despite being gainfully employed. In 2021, they finally struck the right chord through Habitat for Humanity.

Before learning about Habitat from a notice in her staff room, the family was struggling with the rise of demand and price of homes in the Comox Valley. They had lived in transitional housing, couch surfed with family and friends and then finally moved onto a campground where they would remain for several years - tenting for two weeks before moving into a camper without running water and then finally a trailer that was financed with the help of her aunt.

While Mavis always put a positive spin on their situation, she felt like she was falling behind as living expenses increased faster than her income. “It’s a sinking feeling,” she says. “I feel like the hole just keeps getting harder to get out of.” Even the campground was unaffordable at times, as the land alone costs $1,500 a month during the summer.

She continued to apply for affordable housing right up until being approved by Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, which allows families to purchase an affordable home with a mortgage geared to income after contributing 500 hours of volunteer work.

Being a Habitat homeowner means going from a space where Mavis could not even lift her arms up all the way to one with “the physical space to do what you want to do.”

Clyde plays his saxophone

For her older son Clyde, this includes practicing the saxophone and listening to his music without disturbing his family or his neighbours. “It’s a really good way to relax and take yourself away from everything that’s going on in your life,” he explains. “It’s nice to be able to play and express yourself.” He is planning on soundproofing his new room along with hooking up a surround sound system.

In a broader sense, owning a home will provide a sense of stability and purpose where the family feels good planning ahead. “This is the house my kids are going to grow up in,” Mavis emphasizes. “I’m part of the community, and I feel like I can contribute more and make it better rather than feeling like I am sort of passing through.”