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The Ladysmith house that nobody wants

Oct 13 2012
Habitat for Humanity is having trouble finding a family to occupy this Ladysmith home. 

Habitat for Humanity is having trouble finding a family to occupy this Ladysmith home.

Photograph by: Habitat for Humanity , Times Colonist

Want an affordable house in picturesque Ladysmith? Anybody?

Hello?

Ladysmith, home to 8,000 residents, has all the amenities and resources a family could ask for, so it's a surprise to some that a lack of applicants means a perfectly safe and affordable house built by Habitat for Humanity is sitting empty.

This is the second time Habitat for Humanity has searched for an applicant for this house. The town donated land for it. Construction was completed in 2009 and the successful applicant was a single mother, Teresa Battle, who worked three jobs to make ends meet.

Battle moved out at the end of August under happy circumstances - she's getting married to a man in another Island community and she and her children have moved in with him.

Battle opted to donate the house to Habitat for Humanity so another family in need could benefit.

Four information sessions have not prompted anyone to apply for the house, said Teresa Pring, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.

Pring said in a statement that the house "would be a safe place where a Ladysmith family can live, sharing growth, happiness and peace of mind, and where they can spend their lives together and share memories."

The successful family would be the registered, titled homeowners. The house has a heat pump, energy-efficient washer, dryer, fridge and stove.

The price hasn't been made public.

The mayor and town council have tried to help the organization connect with potential applicants.

"It's a very nice home and a good location," said Mayor Rob Hutchins, adding "it's a bit of a surprise" the organization is having trouble finding another family. "It's a wonderful opportunity."

The town is introducing Habitat for Humanity to representatives at Ladysmith social service agencies. "We have two extremely good [social service] organizations but they're not in the business of providing homes," Hutchins said.

Messages to Habitat for Humanity's Nanaimo office were not returned Friday, but its website says applicants for the Ladysmith home should be a hardworking, low-income family with a total annual household income of $25,000 to $52,000.

Application deadline is Oct. 22 at 4 p.m.

Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates affordable houses with the help of families who will live in them. The houses are sold to low-income families at no profit. They are financed without downpayments and use no-interest mortgages geared to income.

Money paid through mortgages go into a revolving fund that's used to build more homes. Each homeowner gives back to the organization by investing 500 hours of labour before moving into their home.

Over the last 12 years, Habitat for Humanity of Mid-Vancouver Island has helped 10 families get into affordable housing.

> For more information, go to www.habitatmvi.org or call the Nanaimo office at 250-758-8078.

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