A surreal experience: Sabrina’s journey to home ownership.

Sabrina and her sons received their Habitat house keys in December of 2015.
Sabrina and her sons at their home at Neufeld Landing in Edmonton.

On a chilly December morning in 2015, Sabrina and her two sons arrived at Neufeld Landing, the biggest Habitat build in Canadian history. Their anticipation was brewing – it was “key day”: they were about to receive the keys to their new Habitat house in the 64-home development. Her partnership with Habitat required that she volunteer 500 hours and she had completed those hours and was ready to reap the rewards of all her hard work.

A few months earlier, life was different; it was much more difficult. Sabrina had lived in small condos and she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to afford a house for her sons. She had heard about the Habitat program through her cousin, who encouraged her to apply. Her research led her to an information session, where she learned all the details of the Habitat program. Sabrina was invited to apply, and she submitted her application.
Weeks passed and Sabrina thought that she was likely passed over for another family in need. However, she decided to call the office to inquire. A Family Services Coordinator politely answered the phone. Sabrina asked her about her application and wanted to know how she could improve it for next time and to see why she wasn’t selected. The Coordinator quickly thumbed through her notes and said, “Actually, you have been approved. We were making our calls today. Congratulations!”

Shortly after she received the news, Sabrina began working her 500 volunteer hours, the majority of which she completed at the Habitat ReStore East. She helped unload donations and cleaned them before bringing them out to the sales floor. While completing her hours she met many volunteers and donors for whom she is extremely grateful.
When Sabrina received her house keys, joy filled her entire being. However, nothing could prepare her for how she would feel when she walked into her home. When the door opened, there was light everywhere! In her old home there were no windows in the kitchen, but here, in her Habitat home, there were many more windows for sunlight to pour through. In her words, the experience was “surreal”.

Today, life is much different for Sabrina’s family. Sabrina has strength; and stability. She is building a solid financial foundation for her and her sons, who are now 19 and 16 years old instead of 14 and 11. They’ve grown in myriad ways. They love their independence. They speak of how their old homes felt like hotel rooms, but how their Habitat home in Neufeld Landing feels like home. Indeed, they have a promising future ahead.

When they shut the door behind them to take their dog Waffles for walk, Sabrina and her sons are grateful to be homeowners. Whether they are enjoying their favorite family pastimes: playing board games, enjoying the outdoors, sitting around a campfire, or cooking together, they always know that, as Habitat for Humanity’s founder once said, they have a safe place to rest their heads on terms they can afford to pay.