Michelle Mouldey was stuck in just this situation. Michelle is a single mother to three children: Jason, 15, Jordan, 12, and Jada, 3. She’s lived in the same co-op for 11 years, and while the space fit her family when she first moved in, it’s now too small for them. “Right now, my daughter sleeps with me, but the other bedroom isn’t big enough for my two grown boys, so Jordan sleeps on the couch,” Michelle says.
Over the years, Michelle has dealt with numerous problems related to her housing, from break-ins to heating that does not work. “Half of the floorboard heaters don’t work, which means the apartment is often freezing in the winter. The ones that do work have exposed wires, which I worry about my daughter touching or causing a fire,” she says.
Then there was a shooting in the parking lot of her building. “It’s hard, because my children are very active, especially Jordan, who loves sports. I worry about letting them out to play because of the violence in our area.” Michelle felt stuck, unable to afford a down payment for a home because of her high rent, but worried about the safety and well-being of her family.
All that changed when Michelle applied for a Habitat for Humanity GTA home and was accepted into the Habitat partner family program.
For Michelle, her experience with Habitat has been a part of a larger journey of self-improvement. “When I had my boys, I was on social assistance, trying to make ends meet. I wanted more for my children – I wanted them to be proud of me and of themselves.” Michelle completed a hospitality course and got a job at Seneca College shortly after that supports her family.
For Michelle’s children, their future is already made brighter by the fact that the new year will bring a new home. “They’re already picking out paint colours for their rooms,” Michelle says. “It’s the first time they’ve ever been able to really decorate their rooms, for them to feel like the space belongs to them. I can’t tell you how much that means to us.”