Home for the holidays

It was an early Christmas for three Vernon families when they were handed the keys to their new homes.

The triplex on East Hill was built by Habitat for Humanity and on Saturday, the families officially took ownership.

Jenny Walter doubts her family could have afforded their own home without the help of Habitat for Humanity.

“I'm in a beautiful family home that is kind of our forever home,” said Walter. “This is amazing. It's a big stepping stone to feeling secure in the world.”

But this was not just a hand out. The families had to put in 500 hours of 'sweat equity' and they will have a mortgage to carry.

Habitat has offered a no-down-payment, non-interest bearing mortgage at fair market value to the families who could not afford to get on the property ladder any other way. Families pay about one-third of their income toward the mortgage.

Glory Westwell, Habitat's North Okanagan chairperson, said many families applied for the homes, and each was thoroughly screened to determine the best candidates.

Local companies and a lot of volunteers came on board to help build the homes.

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