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How building their home taught them new skills

“I’m not done yet” explains Habitat homeowner Rocio as she tours us around her home showing us all the things she’s done to give it that personal touch.

Carlos, Rocio and their four children moved into their Habitat home last December and over the past seven months have taken great pride in being a homeowner. They have been planting gardens, building outdoor structures, and even built a downstairs bathroom.

We love our new home, Rocio tells us, "The children are very happy here and we are overjoyed. Carlos and I teach our children to respect their home and keep it clean.

Rocio enjoys gardening, cutting the lawn, planting and maintaining her flowers and just recently she and Carlos built an arched trellis out of wood for their clematis flowers to climb up. They built it from scratch, by looking at the trellis their neighbour had and designed their own.

I learned a lot of things from Craig when we built our home, says Rocio. Craig Brown is Habitat Niagara’s Construction Manager who teaches and supervises future Habitat homeowners, volunteers and Build Day participants how to do the tasks to help build a Habitat home. Qualified Habitat homeowners must complete 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ before they move into their Habitat home, and most of those hours are done helping to build their home.

Right next to Carlos and Rocio’s home Habitat Niagara recently built another house for new homeowners Scott and Kory and during the construction Rocio asked Craig if she could use some of the scrap wood that was discarded. She made a mounted storage unit to hold her garden hose out of the scrap wood, said Craig.It was so creative – I love that idea!

This summer Rocio is having family members visit and stay at her house so her next project is to stain her front porch. This porch reminds me of home, she said. When it’s hot outside you can have a nap in the shade, have conversations with my family or Carlos and I can just hang out and say “hello” to the neighbours as they walk by.