by Ashley Sloan, Habitat for Humanity homeowner

With the ongoing affordable housing crisis, home ownership can be out of reach for many of us. However, organizations like Habitat for Humanity help bring community members, local partners, volunteers, and supporters together to help build safe, secure, and affordable homes for local families. How do I know? I’m a Habitat homeowner!

This Fall, Habitat Greater Ottawa and Habitat Thousand Islands have partnered together for the upcoming Kemptville Korners development. This 15-unit development is located across from the Kemptville District Hospital. There will be two accessible barrier-free units on the ground floor. The other units are 3 or 4 bedroom and will have access either to a private balcony or yard and will include a parking spot. To date, there have been two Habitat homes built, one in Kemptville in 2015, and one in Oxford Mills built in 2017. In the bigger picture, North Grenville is in the Leeds and Grenville Thousand Island catchment that has built 18 homes to date for families to give them a hand up into affordable home ownership.

What does this mean for North Grenville? Habitat for Humanity would not be able to build these homes without the help of community volunteers and supporters. There are many ways you can get involved and help local families like mine. If you are a hands-on type of person, then the build is for you. No construction experience necessary! That was how I first got involved with Habitat. I signed up and was asked to be the volunteer coordinator on the first Kemptville build. My job was to work with the builder and contractors to ensure they had the right people for the right job on the right day. Currently, Habitat is looking for volunteer Build Site Liaisons and Build Photographers.

For companies and local businesses, Habitat Team Build Days are a great way to develop team building amongst your employees, and to feature your business in the community. This is where Wendy Embleton comes into the story. Wendy heard about the program and how, in her line of work of real estate, she sees the advantages of owning a home and the importance of “hosting information nights to allow our community to ask questions, or be able to learn more about how Habitat for Humanity can be a huge asset to our community.”

The first meeting took place on Zoom in June, and another will be offered later in August. You can also gather a group of friends and family and raise money for the Kemptville Korners build. Teams of 10 can fundraise in the community and will have the opportunity to spend a day on the build site, building alongside future Habitat homeowners.

If you prefer to work more closely with future Habitat homeowners, or around the community, you can volunteer for the Family Partner Committee. Family Partner volunteers play an important role, guiding families through Habitat’s Homeownership Program right up until they receive the keys to their Habitat home. You can also volunteer for Habitat at events, as the organization will be involved in many upcoming community events and celebrations around the North Grenville area over the next year.

Do you have items such as furniture or building supplies that you no longer need? Donate it to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. ReStores sell new and gently-used donated home furnishings, and appliances to support local families, while diverting waste for landfills. All proceeds from the ReStore go towards supporting upcoming Habitat builds. Did you know there is a ReStore located on Hwy 43 in the South Gower Industrial Park? If you want to go on a treasure hunt, there is also a sister location in Brockville on Highway 29.

During my time volunteering at the ReStore, I have met amazing customers who shared about the projects they were working on, and this made it fun to help search for the material that would complete the job.

A Habitat home is a great investment in my family and the community. Let me share my story. Purchasing my own Habitat home in 2017 has allowed me to experience the security and pride of being a homeowner. Anything I do to improve my home or property is an investment in my future and the future of my family. Home payments are based on my household annual income, and the difference in rental payments and mortgage payments in today’s market makes a huge difference. I am fortunate enough, with this type of savings, to be able to invest in my community. There are several organizations where I enjoy volunteering, and my children are able to join extra curricular activities. My partner and I do not have to worry so much about our children’s future, and we feel more financially secure. Now, I am able to put away for, not one, but two college educations.

For families who are thinking of applying for a Habitat home, I encourage you to find out more. You can learn about the home ownership criteria on It will outline the requirements needed, and you will be able to fill out the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire as your first step in the application process. The path to home ownership is an important and in-depth process, requiring hard work, time, and dedication. This helps to ensure the long-term success of Habitat homeowners. Habitat will work with you to help prepare you for the responsibilities of home ownership, which may include workshops on budgeting, home maintenance, and more.

Are you interested in donating or volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, or applying for a Habitat home? I invite you to visit or for more information.


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