Meet Alyessa and William’s family

4 adults, 2 children raise fists in celebration

Imagine never being able to have friends visit you because you’re just too embarrassed about your home; this is the reality for Alyessa and William’s family.

They are proud parents of 5-year-old Ariah and a bouncy one-year-old named Bryson. They currently live in an apartment building near Don Mills and Sheppard. It’s an area they love that’s close to parks, transit, a shopping mall and Alyessa’s school.

Their apartment, however, is constantly riddled with insects. That’s despite the fact that their home has been fumigated numerous times. It means they live with a constant anxiety while being in their own home. Alyessa describes what it’s like on any given day:

“We are always cleaning because we cannot leave any food out or anything that would attract bugs. We haven’t told our daughter that the bugs are roaches for fear she would tell her friends at school and they would look down on us. We do not invite family or friends over or even let my daughter’s friends come over for fear of embarrassment.”

Alyessa told us about the traumatic experience of waking up in the middle of the night and seeing an insect crawling in her baby’s bassinet. On top of the stress, she says she was realizing that there wasn’t much she could do and her situation felt hopeless at times. In addition, given they are a family of four, their two-bedroom apartment is feeling quite tight. Currently, they keep some of the children’s furniture in their own bedroom because there just isn’t enough space.

At Habitat for Humanity GTA, we are all too aware that our housing affordability crisis is affecting rentals. Currently, the average price of a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto is more than $3,000* – a price that is in line with what Alyessa and William’s apartment building charges for rent. For families like Alyessa and William’s, even though they work so hard to provide the best for their kids the landscape for rentals in the GTA means they can never get ahead.

But their story will have a happy ending. After applying for a Habitat Home, their family was approved and they will be moving into their home near the Don Valley Village – which is in the same community as their current rental. They’ll have a more spacious, clean and more affordable home for their family to thrive.

Thanks to the dedicated support of volunteers, donors, community-minded builders and collaborators from all levels of government, Alyessa and William will soon know the strength, stability and self-reliance that comes from a Habitat Home.

They’re looking forward to fulfilling their community hours with Alyessa speaking about her experience at events and William plans to help at builds.

The family is more optimistic and excited than ever about what life will soon be like for them. “It will change our lives because it helps you live an affordable lifestyle that is safe and setting us up for the future,” said Alyessa.



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*Rentals Report for February 2023: https://rentals.ca/national-rent-report