Deserving Mississauga Family to Own a Home Thanks to a Canadian First in Habitat Community Partnerships

MISSISSAUGA, ON – November 17, 2012 – A Mississauga family of six was joined by volunteers who worked on the townhome that will soon be theirs, thanks to a unique program being launched at Daniels FirstHome™ Destination Drive II in Erin Mills.
The Daniels Corporation and Citi Foundation are partnering with Habitat for Humanity Mississauga in a new concept to help deserving families realize their dream of homeownership. A “first” in Canada, Habitat is acquiring a partially completed townhome within the Daniels community at significantly reduced costs, and then finishing the interior.
A shift from Habitat’s usual ground-up builds, this unique approach was made possible with substantial support from both Daniels and Citi Foundation. As land availability in major urban centers dwindles, and it becomes more difficult to acquire building lots, Habitat hopes this timely model will serve as an example to other developers and private sector organizations.
Doug Clark, Board Chair & President, Habitat for Humanity Mississauga, said, “To serve our families’ need for affordable homes, we have to come up with alternate approaches. A few years ago, Daniels donated the land for 10 Habitat townhomes in Etobicoke – the single-largest donation of land by a private company in Habitat Canada’s history. Subsequently, Daniels’ President Mitchell Cohen offered us the opportunity of partnering with them at their FirstHome™ Communities. Recognizing the importance of this opportunity, Citi Foundation and their employees also came forward to help with funding and to assist on the build. This generous level of involvement from both Daniels and Citi is a positive example of two organizations that are committed to strengthening their communities working with Habitat to help build homes and hope for deserving families.”
“Daniels is delighted to be part of this innovative initiative,” says Daniels Vice President Don Pugh. “Through our FirstHome™ Communities, we have an ongoing commitment to help make the dream of homeownership a reality for as many people as possible. Through this symbiotic relationship between Daniels, Citi and Habitat, we are demonstrating that affordable housing can be achieved. We are particularly happy to be able to give back in Mississauga, where our Chairman, John Daniels, was one of the visionaries behind the creation of Erin Mills. Our corporate roots are here, and we have a long history of building in this city.”
“The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment of individuals and families, in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living,” said John Hastings, Citi Country Officer and CEO of Citibank Canada. “Citi has a long history of partnering with Habitat for Humanity to sponsor builds around the world. Not only are we proud to lend out support with grants through the Citi Foundation, our employees in the Mississauga area also believe in this project and have volunteered 500 hours of their time to this build.”
More than 2,000 volunteer hours are going into the completion of the Destination Drive II townhome, as well as the selected partner family contributing “sweat equity” by assisting with the completion of the home. The couple came to Canada from Pakistan years ago to make a better life for themselves and their four sons who are between the ages of 9 and 15. The father is coordinator of a local food bank, where his wife and children often volunteer. The mother is very involved in the boys’ education and is the current chairperson of the Parent Council at her children’s school. When the local branch of the public library was in jeopardy of closing, the family successfully advocated keeping it open. They currently live in a crowded two-bedroom rental apartment, so owning a three-bedroom townhome will be a big step toward realizing the Canadian dream for this family.
“This is such a deserving family,” Clark adds “they have spend years giving back to the community. They are thrilled to be joining the community of first-time home buyers at Daniels FirstHome™ Destination Drive II and it is a privilege to be working with them on their future home.”
The townhome will be turned over to the family next Spring. Habitat sells the homes to partner families with no down payment, and takes back an interest-free mortgage for the full price.

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