Ladysmith family giving back to Habitat for Humanity

As she moved out of her home, Habitat for Humanity homeowner Teresa Battle is giving her house back to the organization.

Teresa Battle and her children pack up their Ladysmith home. They are moving up-Island and giving the home back to Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.

Teresa Battle and her children pack up their Ladysmith home. They are moving up-Island and giving the home back to Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.

Homeowners usually expect to make a profit off their homes.

But Habitat for Humanity homeowner Teresa Battle is giving her house back to the organization. Battle, who acquired the home four years ago, says she is just grateful for the opportunity to give back.

“I had such a strong attachment to the whole concept of Habitat, and it changed our lives forever,” Battle explained. “It was an amazing experience. It didn’t feel right to try and sell the house, and it didn’t feel right to make a profit from a non-profit organization.”

Battle is leaving Ladysmith to move up-Island to live with her fiancé. But she says she’ll never forget what Habitat did for her and her two children.

“It allowed me to be at home more because I didn’t have to work three jobs because I could afford the mortgage payments. It allowed us to be healthier; there was no black mould. My son had health issues, which were exacerbated by the house we were renting,” she said. “I was able to advance in my career because I could afford to go to school. It’s changed our whole world.”

Battle says she was a single parent working three jobs to afford the rent. She used to deliver newspapers in the middle of the night for the Victoria Times-Colonist, and she was never home.

Even though she is no longer a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, Battle’s relationship with the organization is not over.

“I want to be part of the whole process as an ambassador,” she said. “I’m going to donate my time to the next house and work there and donate some community hours. I can’t wait to see the little kid that says ‘this is my room!’”

Teresa Pring, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island, is happy that Habitat for Humanity does not have to say goodbye to Battle and her family.

“We are not saying goodbye to her; we are just changing our relationship with her,” she said. “Teresa is a very genuine, caring person, and she still wants to be involved. She wants to do mentoring for new homeowners.

“The door is closing for Teresa, but she’s opened the door for another family to have a chance and I admire the way that she has handled herself.”

Pring says Battle’s situation is rare, and only one per cent of Habitat homeowners give back their home.

“It is very unique — really, there are only two types of circumstances where we receive the home back, either there is a change in their life, like Teresa, or there is a default,” explained Pring. “We are very happy for her and we are very proud of her achievements. It just shows that our charity actually does do what it says it is going to do and makes a difference in people’s lives. Her work life and home life all changed drastically for the better, and we are thrilled she met someone and we can provide a Habitat home for a new family.”

Battle says the whole experience has been amazing, but she is sad to leave her home.

“I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing, but sometimes I’m like, ‘oh, it’s my home!,’” she says. “But it’s been amazing, and Habitat is a hand up but not a hand out.”

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Now that Teresa Battle has given her home back to Habitat for Humanity, the organization is looking for another family that is interested in becoming a partner family.

Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island Family will be hosting two information sessions for the Ladysmith home on Strathcona Road. The sessions will take place Thurs., Sept. 6 from 6-8 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 9 from 2-4 p.m. at the Eagles Hall at 921 First Ave.

The deadline to submit applications will be Fri., Oct. 5. All those who are interested must attend an information session.

Call 250-758-8078 or visit the Habitat for Humanity website for more information.

Ladysmith Chronicle

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