Meet Jia’s family

Chang family smiles inside their living room, by a Christmas tree

Imagine being a reliable tenant, paying high amounts of rent every month but knowing that you could receive an eviction notice at any time due to landlord whims.

That’s the story of Jia Wen, a single mother of teenage students Anita and Ayasha. The trio lived in an apartment in the Birch Cliff area, an apartment that was too expensive and too stress-inducing. After having moved five times without finding a space that worked for them, the family looked forward to a safe environment with decent living conditions.

Jia Wen works hard at two jobs to support her family. Even with her income, the family had been unable to find an affordable residence. Their apartment was aging with a leaky ceiling, the landlord threatened redevelopment and the family experienced difficulties with neighbours and excess noise.

“Police have visited our building to investigate many times,” Jia Wen says. “Our home was not a safe place for us to live.”

Imagine working multiple jobs and knowing you can make monthly mortgage payments. And imagine, instead, having no option but to spend that money towards unsafe, unsuitable housing because saving towards a traditional downpayment will always be out of hand.

No family should have to feel trapped inside a difficult and unsafe living situation, let alone one where the landlord is pushing for redevelopment. With the help of volunteers and community partners, however, Jia Wen and her children recently moved to a safe, decent home near the Don Valley Village area.

“I will work even harder,” Jia Wen says. “The kids will learn to work hard, like me, to have a decent home. There isn’t any more leaking in the home or difficulty with neighbours.”

Even though Jia Wen works multiple jobs, the housing affordability crisis meant that she would never be able to save up for a traditional downpayment. A social media post led Jia Wen to apply for Habitat Homeownership, and the family was shortly approved for a safe, decent home. Jia Wen can now enter homeownership without a traditional downpayment and build financial equity through affordable mortgage payments.

“I always wanted to own a home,” Jia Wen says. “I work two jobs and I work hard. I will be responsible for my own home now and I will maintain it well. We’re looking forward to better living in a safe environment.”



You can help more families like the Changs.

Donate Now