Over the last 13+ years partnering with Habitat for Humanity GTA, Manulife’s generosity has raised over $1.7 million and engaged hundreds of employees to volunteer building Habitat homes for families. In 2018, Manulife volunteers built with us in July, October, and November at our Pinery Trail and McLaughlin builds.
Now with over 14 home dedication ceremonies under their tool belt, Manulife understands what a safe, decent, affordable home means to Habitat homeowners like the Andrade family.
When the Andrade’s first arrived to Canada, Diana and her husband could not speak a word of English. They worked hard to learn the language, and then tried finding jobs in their fields. Unfortunately, it did not go as planned. Despite setbacks Diana and her husband faced, they continued working hard and keeping a positive mindset for their children. The family was fortunate to get a subsidized 3-bedroom apartment from their pastor in a building that the church owned. But the building went up for sale. After the building was sold, Diana learned about Habitat for Humanity GTA from a friend. And after speaking with her husband, they decided to apply. “We did this for our children,” says Diana. So they can have a stable home and something to count on when they grow up.”
“Through our work in the community, Manulife wants to help Canadians live more financially-secure lives,” says Mary Desjardins-Therrien, AVP, Corporate Citizenship & Sponsorship. “We recognize a safe, stable and affordable place to call home directly connects to an individual’s feelings of well-being and security, which in turn contributes to and inspires longer-term financial goals. We hope the Andrade family builds a strong sense of community in their new home.”
Since 2016, DUCA’s Community Hero Mortgage continues to help build Habitat homes for working, lower-income families. Through the Community Hero Mortgage, DUCA donates two basis points from the interest portion of each monthly mortgage payment to Habitat for Humanity GTA – up to a total commitment of $500,000 over five years – to help fund the construction of new Habitat homes for working, lower-income families. DUCA employees also support the initiative by providing volunteer hours to build homes at Habitat build sites across the GTA. In 2018, DUCA volunteers built with us at our Pinery Trail build on four separate occasions.
Funds raised through the Community Hero Mortgage helped build a home for the Gountouvas family in 2017 at Habitat GTA’s 10-home project at Kennedy Road in Caledon.
The Gountouvas family was living in an unsafe apartment building where they witnessed violence, public intoxication, and excessive noise from their neighbours that often kept them up at night. The family occasionally slept in the living room to avoid the worst of the noise while they tried to sleep. “All I ever wanted for my children is to have a safe, decent place to call home, but it just wasn’t affordable as a working, single mother in the GTA,” said Aglaia, the family’s mother. “My children and I now have a place we’re proud to call our own, where we feel safe spending quality time together – inside and outside our home.”
“DUCA exists to help people, businesses and communities do more, be more and achieve more with their money and their lives,” says Keith Taylor, who led the development of the Community Hero Mortgage at DUCA. “It truly is a win-win, the mortgage holder gets a great mortgage and Habitat for Humanity GTA gets much needed financial support.”