Habitat homeownership improves health and happiness of families, children more confident and get better grades

CMHC survey of Habitat for Humanity families shows affordable homeownership an effective tool for economic and social advancement

TORONTO, June 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, new research was released demonstrating that affordable Habitat for Humanity homeownership contributes to families becoming happier and healthier, and enjoying improvements in their children's well being and school performance. The research, led and funded by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), shows that of the families surveyed, 86 percent report being happier since moving into their Habitat home and 89 percent said their family life had improved.

For this study, 326 Canadian families who have received their Habitat homes since 2000 were surveyed on changes to their health, social and financial dynamics.

"Habitat for Humanity saved us," said Cory Mennear, a Habitat partner commenting on the findings of the study.  Cory's child experienced complications during respiratory surgery because of damage caused by mould in their previous home. "It was heartbreaking as a parent to watch your children's health and wellbeing suffer because you can't afford a better home, but now we've left those worries behind and are able to focus on our futures."

"Cramped quarters, unhealthy environments, unsafe neighbourhoods - low-income Canadian families often face challenges in obtaining housing that meets their needs ," said Kevin Marshman, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. "The families who partner with Habitat are able to remove themselves from these difficult situations, build equity for their futures and begin living healthier, happier and more productive lives."

A leading advocate of affordable homeownership in Canada, Habitat for Humanity Canada worked with CMHC on this research to quantify the benefits and outcomes of their homeownership model on the families that partner through their program.  Habitat's model provides "a hand up, not a hand out", with low-income families paying the full fair market value of their home through a no-interest, no down payment mortgage that is geared to their income.

Other key findings from the report:

  • 70 percent of homebuyers reported improved health, including reduced colds and flu, allergies, asthma symptoms and stress. 31 percent reported less frequent visits to the doctor and about 25 percent said they missed fewer days of work because of illness;
  • 65 percent reported their children's confidence had improved;
  • Children's participation in extracurricular activities also increased.  Involvement in sports increased to 61 percent from 50 percent and participation in music and arts increased to 30 percent from 18 percent, with volunteering increasing to 45 percent from 29 percent;
  • More than half (58 percent) reported they were better off financially now than before they moved into their Habitat home.

A full copy of the report is available from CMHC here.

About Habitat for Humanity Canada

Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. With the help of over 63,000 volunteers every year and 69 affiliate organizations from coast to coast, their mission is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty in Canada and around the world. For more information, please visit www.habitat.ca.

SOURCE: Habitat for Humanity Canada

For further information:

Derek Mletzko
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Habitat for Humanity Canada
(416) 644-0988 x326, (416) 294-3039

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