CORNWALL – Construction will get underway Tuesday morning on the future home for Cornwall’s Lauzon family.
The Lauzons – Shane and Ashley, 10-year-old Kyler, 7-year-old Austin and 4-year-old Hunter – were part of a groundbreaking ceremony at the site at 1108 Churchill Street this afternoon (Thursday).
Before the ceremony, the family was having a high-spirited game of tag and also played catch in the vacant lot.
“Just being here and being able to drive here and stepping on this property and knowing that we’re going to have a wonderful home for our boys to grow up in and something that they can share and bring their grand kids home to and just have this amazing opportunity we can’t thank Habitat enough,” Ashley Lauzon said, holding back tears.
Shane Lauzon said the community support for donations and interest in helping with the build has been “phenomenal” and they are “extremely thankful.”
Mayor Bernadette Clement recounted meeting a neighbour while parking for the event.
“This guy goes by and he says ‘What’s going on?’ I said there’s going to be house going up on this lot and it’s Habitat for Humanity and he said ‘Great! We’ve been wondering for years what was going to happen here.’ so it’s good,” the mayor said.
MPP Jim McDonell, MP Guy Lauzon and Habitat for Humanity board chairman Hank Blasiak also spoke during the groundbreaking.
Habitat Executive Director Leigh Taggart said this was “the beginning of something wonderful.”
The St. Lawrence College carpentry class will be on site Tuesday morning to start work on the foundation, walls and trusses.
Taggart told Cornwall Newswatch the blueprint for this 1,000 square foot home will be slightly different than their past split-level builds. The front door will enter the upper floor of the house instead of opening to a landing with stairs to the upper and lower floors.
Normally, municipalities donate land to Habitat for Humanity for their builds, like Cornwall did for next year’s build. But in this case, the organization had to buy the lot for $58,000, which was an added challenge for this build, Taggart explained to Newswatch.
The house should be up by September where a handover of the keys ceremony will happen.
Habitat for Humanity also addressed a public misconception – nobody is getting a “free home.” Once the house is built, it’s appraised, and the 20-year interest-free mortgage on the home’s fair market value is held by Habitat for Humanity. The Lauzons will make payments, based on their income, to a maximum of 30 per cent of their take-home pay.
“That covers their mortgage and their property taxes. That’s how Habitat homes are affordable. It’s through our support of our community, our donors and our volunteers we are able to do this,” Taggart said.
The Lauzons also have to perform 500 hours of “sweat equity” as part of their agreement. Taggart said 315 hours has been done as of today.
Habitat for Humanity’s first semi-detached home with two families will happen in Cornwall in 2020 on a double lot on Eva Avenue.