OXFORD – Oxford’s Habitat for Humanity project is about to surpass another major milestone.
Work is winding down on the community’s second habitat home and the keys should be turned over to its new owner Kale Bingley and his seven-year-old son Caleb.
“The project is going very well. We are nearing the end of our second home and we’ll be beginning work on the third foundation soon with the goal of starting on the next home and finish it over the winter months,” committee co-chair Jordan Burkhardt said.
In 2015, Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia joined with officials in Oxford – including the town, Oxford Frozen Foods, Housing Nova Scotia and CORCAN – in announcing a 10-home affordable housing development in the wild blueberry capital.
The first of three homes was completed and turned over a recipient nearly two years ago while work began almost immediately on the second home, which will have its key ceremony in May.
For Bingley, moving into the Habitat for Humanity home will allow him and his son to settle into something permanent.
It was in April 2016 when Kale saw the completion of the first home and a family like his given the opportunity move into an affordable, safe home. He was motivated to make the same change for his family and last summer he went to the Habitat for Humanity website and filled out a pre-application. The rest is history.
For several years, Kale – who works at Oxford Frozen Foods – and his son have moved around several apartments and rental units in Antigonish, New Glasgow and Truro. When he came to Oxford last year to work he began renting a mini-home from his employer.
However, since the mini-homes are only rented during the blueberry harvest season, and the fact there are few rental options in the Oxford area, he was forced to move in with a co-worker.
He was relieved to learn his application to partner with Habitat was accepted.
“This house means a lot to me. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t want to rent any more. I want to start investing into a place of my own, a place where I see myself living for a long time,” Bingley said. “We’ve moved around quite a bit so I’m really excited for Caleb to finally be able to settle into something permanent and build some memories.”
Burkhardt said the reason he got involved in Habitat is because of stories such as Kale’s.
“I still think there is some stigma we have to overcome when it comes to family selection. For some reason, a lot of people still think this is low income housing,” he said. “It’s important for us to educate the public and let them know these homes are for anyone, especially middle income earners. It’s not a hand-out, it’s a hand-up.”
Families for Habitat for Humanity homes are selected on the basis of need, their ability to repay a no down payment, no-interest mortgage, and their commitment to volunteer 500 hours of sweat equity toward their home and community.
The plan is to build two homes per year over four years.
Burkhardt said the initiative gives people the opportunity to get a mortgage when they are unable to save for a down payment because everything is going into paying the rent or other living expenses.
It’s also important for people to realize anyone can apply for a Habitat home, it doesn’t have to be someone from the Oxford area. Burkhardt said the committee is working to raise awareness in other communities around Cumberland County.