Home for the Holidays -
Alyssa's Story

When we first met Alyssa, she had spent her life savings, was working three jobs at times and putting groceries on credit cards to pay rent, which was more than $4,000 per month. Alyssa described the challenge of finding an accessible, affordable apartment in the city, something her family cannot live without because one of her daughters, Ella, has cerebral palsy and requires a wheelchair.

The statistics don’t lie. Just for a two-bedroom apartment, the average rent is $3,319 in Toronto right now and that’s an increase of 24% from the year before. At the same time, we know from our recent survey that 83% of people living in the GTA are worried about having less money to spend on food, savings, transportation costs or debt to continue to afford their current housing – regardless of whether they own or rent their home.

But when you support Habitat for Humanity GTA – you invest in building more affordable homes. And you help create hope and empower moms like Alyssa.

This December, we welcomed Alyssa and her three kids to their new Habitat home in Keelesdale.

Like all Habitat homeowners, Alyssa put in 500 volunteer hours, sharing her story at events, speaking to local media about the challenges in the housing market and helping out at build sites.

Now, Alyssa and her kids are living comfortably, paying a mortgage that’s capped at no more than 32% of her monthly expenses.

“It’s a lot more affordable – it’s half of what my rent was. Now I have the financial stability for myself…knowing that no matter what happens my housing costs are fixed and I don’t have to worry about whether I can afford our mortgage, whereas with rent, it can go up at any time”

Alyssa now lives closer to work and enjoys a shorter commute..  Habitat for Humanity GTA also made sure that Alyssa’s new home is accessible. Their condo has wider doorways so Ella is able to more freely move around and they also have an accessible parking spot. Alyssa says these are features they’ve never had before and she’s tremendously happy to see her daughter thriving in their new home. Alyssa says she’s hopeful about the future and truly grateful for the Habitat for Humanity GTA program.

“Every Habitat family has a unique story, whether we are leaving unsafe, unhygienic, overcrowded, or unaffordable apartments – we have all struggled with trying to do the best we can for our children. As parents, we want to see our children thrive, become members of their community, make friends, be happy, and we want to ensure that our children are not impacted by our own financial stresses as they grow up – that they get to stay children as long as possible without worrying along with us.”

As you can imagine, there is still much work to be done. With inflation and rent still at all-time highs the demand for affordable homes has never been greater in the GTA. Habitat for Humanity GTA is preparing to build more homes in the next few years than in our entire history—but we will need your help.

This Holiday season, we invite you to donate and help empower more families like Alyssa’s by Giving the Gift of Home. Together, we can build more affordable homes in your community and build a more affordable and inclusive GTA for us all.

*Rentals.ca November 2022 Rent Report – Accessed December 2022.