“Underhoused” is a term used to define a community with insufficient dwellings to serve its population. It can also describe individuals and families whose housing situation is simply inadequate. Both definitions applied to Myesha (Collins) and Josh Halsall. They had a toddler, Lydia, a baby on the way, and were living in a one-bedroom apartment that was ill-equipped to meet their needs. As a partner in a fledgling local small business, Josh, and his family, didn’t qualify for a mortgage under the conventional system. There were no rentals available in the area that could accommodate his growing family or the storage space for the equipment necessary for his business. Hope was dwindling that dreams of a proper family home were ever going to be realized. Enter Cathy Morel, the donor of the land at 132 North Shore Road, on which a Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North (OGN) home was being constructed. Cathy encouraged the couple to apply for consideration as OGN’s next partner family. With the support of family, friends, and community members, they did.
After a thorough application process, conducted by OGN and the Pointe au Baril Adopt-a-Home Committee, Josh and Myesha were selected. They completed their 500 volunteer hour contribution toward the build and the family moved in the Spring of 2020. In February, Josh and Myesha welcomed a little sister for Lydia, named Eleanor, and in November, the couple was married. Josh continues to grow his business, Cottage Life Services, and Myesha, a member of Shawanaga First Nation, also works part-time at the Shawanaga First Nation Administration office as a Finance Clerk.
The Halsalls are grateful to OGN and so impressed with the speed and efficiency of the construction of their energy-efficient home. Myesha thanks “the incredible volunteers, including women’s groups, local businesses, and Habitat Adopt-a-Home Committee members. Helpful doesn’t fully describe the Habitat team. They’ve provided us with an opportunity to own a home!” The Halsalls say of working with Habitat for Humanity, “It’s not a handout. But a helping hand up.”
Myesha predicts their new home – called Halsall House – will be filled with love and incredible memories, and adds, “It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.”
About Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North
Amalgamated in 2014, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North is a not-for-profit organization working toward a world where everyone has a safe, suitable, and affordable place to call home. Habitat for Humanity brings communities together to help families build strength, stability, and independence through affordable housing. With the help of government organizations, charitable foundations, local businesses, individual community members, volunteers, and other Habitat partners we provide a solid foundation for better, healthier lives in our service area, in Canada, and around the world. Our region serves communities across central and northern Ontario, including North Simcoe County, Muskoka, Parry Sound, Nipissing, Greater Sudbury and Cochrane. Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity Canada, which was established in 1985. To date, across Canada, Habitat for Humanity has helped thousands of families in need of a hand-up. Across the globe, Habitat for Humanity has grown to become a leading global not-for-profit working in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.habitatgatewaynorth.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.