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Celebrating House No. 15 with Great-West Life and GWL Realty Advisors Inc.

Great-West Life and GWL Realty Advisors (GWLRA) are helping build stronger communities in the regions where their employees work and live. Their ongoing investment in Habitat for Humanity demonstrates their commitment to support community-based real estate projects, and promote the development of vibrant, healthy communities. At Habitat for Humanity GTA, we’ve seen it over the last 15 years.

In 2018, GWLRA is celebrating the 15th home they’ve helped us build in as many years. Through employee volunteerism and financial donations, their investment in our homebuilding projects has changed the lives of 15 families.

This year, Great-West Life and GWL Realty Advisors’ generosity is changing the lives of the Zeleke-Belew family.

 For Getenet and Tadelech Zeleke-Belew, every day was filled with worry. Like most parents, their family’s well-being was constantly on their mind, but caring for a child with severe autism came with a different set of worries. Especially since the home they lived in with their son, Joseph, wasn’t fit for his condition, and posed a constant risk to his health.

“Every morning before I went to work, I had to clean the front of our home,” explains Getenet. “We always found garbage, empty liquor bottles, and other dangerous trash on the ground outside from the neighbours. If I didn’t clean it, Joseph would try to pick it up when he went outside.”

It’s not only what waits outside that puts their family’s health at risk. Because Joseph cannot use the bathroom on his own, his mother, as her children’s primary caregiver, must help him every time. As Tadelech gets older, carrying around the weight of her fully-grown son got harder and harder, especially as arthritis worsened in her knees.

 

But the scariest lurking threat was time. When Joseph’s sister Sara turned 21, they would be forced to move out of their assigned apartment, as she will no longer be a co-dependent and qualify them for their social housing unit. For a family already struggling in the small amount of space they had, this loss would have been devastating.

Thanks to Great-West Life and GWL Realty Advisors, the Zeleke-Belew’s moved into a Habitat home at Pinery Trail in 2018 – a home where they feel safe and secure, with enough space to grow and thrive.

 “We’re proud to work with Habitat for Humanity to provide a safe home for the Zeleke-Belew’s,” said Michelle Walkau, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Services and Building Excellence, GWL Realty Advisors Inc. “Our employees have been touched by the family’s strength and resilience and look forward to seeing them prosper in their new community.”

We are honoured to work with Great-West Life and GWL Realty Advisors to provide their 15th family with the strength, stability, and self-reliance of affordable homeownership.

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