Habitat for Humanity Project Accepts First Family

Ormstown’s Our House project welcomes its first tenants—a local mother and her son.

Publié le 14 mars 2017

Stacey Cater and her son Chase are excited to move into their new home.

©Sarah Rennie

July can’t arrive soon enough for Ormstown’s newest resident, whose serendipitous connection with the municipality long predated her being selected as the first of two new homeowners with the New Frontiers School Board’s Our House Project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Quebec.

This is giving me the opportunity to have an investment and I am very proud. I am going to be able to do this and leave something for my son. Stacey Cater

Stacey Cater and her 9-year-old son Chase were introduced to their new home on February 10th in Ormstown, but her connection with the town started over five years ago when she graduated from the nursing program at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre. Now working in Ormstown and Huntingdon as a nurse, it seemed too good to be true when her son brought the application form home from his school and encouraged her to fill it out. The entire selection process was conducted solely by Habitat for Humanity. "It's a wonderful coincidence," says Anne Bergeron, the Partners Relations Coordinator with Habitat for Humanity Quebec. "It was obviously meant to be," she adds, of the happy twist of fate. 

For Cater, the Our House Project represents the culmination of her decision to pull herself out of poverty and turn her life around following the birth of her son by going back to school and getting a solid job to provide for him. She had long dreamed of moving out of their small apartment into a house and the opportunity presented by the Our House Project brought that possibility into focus. "This is giving me the opportunity to have an investment and I am very proud. I am going to be able to do this and leave something for my son," says Cater.  In addition, she is looking forward to a much shorter commute and the extra time she’ll be able to spend with her son now that juggling daycare and early morning drop-off schedules will be a thing of the past.

"I am going to help build my house and learn how to take care of it, "she adds, noting how Habitat for Humanity is also involved in making sure her dream becomes a sustainable reality. And, while there is a measure of security built into the agreement with Habitat for Humanity, Cater is very conscious of the fact that this is not a hand out. "You have to work, and you have to make payments," she says of the serious commitment she has made to her new life in Ormstown.

Now anxious for the construction site on Isabelle Street to open so she can begin working on her home, Cater has already begun working off the 500 volunteer hours required by Habitat for Humanity at the ReStore in Montreal. "I am good in the hospital, but not very good with tools," she laughs, noting how Habitat for Humanity has been very accommodating in finding ways for her to complete her hours. As for her house, she has yet to see the interior, but she isn’t worried. “The CVCEC is just a fantastic little school. I know the teachers, and I am very impressed with what they have done." She says of the LEED certified semi-detached homes.

Looking for Volunteers

Now that the houses have officially been moved from the CVCEC and turned over to Habitat for Humanity, the construction site will soon be opened for volunteers who wish to contribute to the project. "We need people to finish these two houses," says Bergeron, while noting the site will be open three days a week. "This is kind of a once in a lifetime scenario, " she adds, noting all the tools and safety equipment are provided, and absolutely no experience is required to experience a day on the work site. In fact, through to the completion of the interior furnishings, there will be someone on site at all times with a construction background to guide volunteers. Anyone interested in donating some time can register as a volunteer on the website at www.habitatqc.ca/volunteer.

Not Too Late to Apply

Habitat for Humanity is still looking for a second family to move into their new home come July. "All these things I thought were stacked against me, they weren’t," says Cater, acknowledging she thought her level of debt and personal situation as a single mom would impact her candidature.

Thank you to Sarah Rennie for her contribution to this article