When asked about their dreams for the future, tears come to Heather’s eyes. “Our dream is to have our own home, to have stability. When you have a home, it takes away so much other stress. It would mean everything.”
“The programs offered by the YWCA West Niagara Affordable Housing program have taught me a lot about myself,” says Heather as she smiles at Cheryl, one of our Transitional Support Workers. They first met about three years ago, and Cheryl has been there for Heather and her family every step of the way, ever since.
When you have a home, it takes away so much other stress. It would mean everything.
At the time Heather, her husband Chad and their three beautiful children came to the YWCA’s West Niagara Affordable Housing program (formerly GAHP) they were living in a mobile home which was less than ideal. They had come to the realization that living in a mobile home was not a long term solution. They also had to admit that given the high rents in Niagara, they were not going to be able to do it on their own. “So I met with Cheryl, we got together for interviews and the application process and only a short time later, we moved into our house”, explains Heather.
Their home is a beautifully decorated little townhouse in Grimsby. Both Heather and Chad work hard and are fortunate enough to have reliable jobs and yet, at the end of the month, there is just not enough money left to pay for the rent. Still, the family is always looking
for ways to get even better at living with what they have. During their three years in the program, they have taken part in almost every skills development workshop offered by the YWCA WNAH, such as “cooking on a budget”, “budget boot camp” and “skills of success.” To help their family make their dream of house ownership come true, their support worker helped them to set up a meeting with their bank. Together, they were able to set specific goals and to create a plan outlining how they can succeed in reaching them.
“This family’s story is inspirational,” says Cheryl, “they are always sticking together. To see them flourish when they were so broken when they first came to us… it’s amazing.”
A few years back, the family lost everything they owned to a house fire. Chad explains that since then, they appreciate everything, even a toothbrush, and Heather adds: “It taught us to take things one day at a time and to enjoy every single day and to be grateful for our health.” They have so much more to be grateful for now, as they have achieved their goal of home ownership and they are moving into their own home this year.