Before becoming a Habitat homeowner, Tracy, her mother Carol-Anne and her daughter Riddley lived in a crowded two-bedroom mobile home in need of many repairs due to water damage and age.

“The work that needed to be done in the home was overwhelming,” says Tracy. “I wasn’t able to keep up with the repairs, as I put myself through school to be a Registered Practical Nurse, and then tried to work part-time to get by.”

As a single mother, Tracy encountered additional challenges when Riddley, now age 7, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at two-and-a-half years old. “Learning different ways on how to parent is what we go through daily,” Tracy explains. “We keep very busy. Riddley is a child that needs lots of activities … We like to swim, bike and go for walks. We practice her reading and printing skills and we love movies. When at home, we like the trampoline … Well, Riddley does.”

They had outgrown the trailer. Her daughter didn’t have any room for her toys, let alone her sensory items, while her mother had recently suffered a stroke.

For Tracy, home means safety, security and stability. It’s the very reason she applied to Habitat for Humanity to be a homeowner after a nudge from her dad. Being a Habitat homeowner has been a source of pride and honour.

“When I saw the vehicles pull into the yard, and Katie (Habitat Sault Ste. Marie and Area’s CEO) appeared, I just knew.”

Partnering with Habitat Sault Ste. Marie means that Tracy was able to buy her home with a no down payment affordable mortgage geared to be no more than 30 per cent of her income. 

The new house is the first Habitat build of its kind in Sault Ste. Marie – a single-story fully-accessible home with entrance ways and hallways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, an accessible shower and an open concept living area.

Tracy and her family also completed 500 hours of mandatory voluntary service with Habitat before obtaining possession of their home. While she couldn’t participate in the home build as much as she had planned to during 2020, Tracy found other ways to volunteer through the local Habitat ReStore for two weeks before starting a new job and every Saturday thereafter to complete her hours. 

The journey to becoming a Habitat homeowner has been a joyful experience and a community affair for Tracy. Even better, was moving into their new home in December 2020, just before Christmas. “I’m very excited to be a part of this new adventure.”