Habitat Brant is happy to celebrate with the Ryder Family as they make their final mortgage payment. Contributed by J. Chantelle Gregoire
Val Ryder doesn’t always do everything that people suggest to her, but as Val recounts, “It was February of ’98, it was actually my mother-in-law who noticed a booth in the mall and said, “Apply, y’know why not?”” The entire Ryder family is very glad that she did because that is how it all started for them. Just a little push, and a strong hand up from Habitat for Humanity Brant and Val and her growing family were able to do what had previously seemed impossible for them; owning their own property, paying their own mortgage, one that has been geared to their income specifically, a mortgage that they are able to manage. “We barely had enough to pay the bills, and some weeks it was not good, not good at all. The rent that we paid was a whole lot higher than the mortgage that we have now.” – Val Ryder
Since having their Habitat Home the Ryders have gained financial independence and no longer require help from family just to see them through each month. Val would like to share with any potential Partner Family Applicants, “There is an end to it, there really is an end to your mortgage and an end to financial burden.”Three years before the Ryder family was ever introduced to Habitat, Travis and Val were fed up with the options available to them as renters; especially after having suffered in a cockroach infested apartment with their two young children. When asked where she thinks her family would be if Habitat Brant had not come into their lives, Val has an answer, “Possibly still living in a rental area for the most part and still struggling.”
Val and her family are no strangers to ‘hard work’, both of her daughters were able to help on the build-site, assisting with the construction of their shed in the back yard, while baby Eldon, only 5 months old, watched from the sidelines. Val and her husband Travis were busy bees that month, volunteering 500 hours of Sweat Equity, with the help of family and friends, over the short four week period that it took to build their home. “We were building the house,
digging the foundation, putting up the walls and the mudding. It was fun! The ReStore came three years later, so there were events that we did to break it up.” – Val Ryder
Habitat for Humanity Brant build houses and something more, something extraordinary.
A “hand-up” from Habitat Brant is more valuable than any “hand-out” the Ryders have ever accepted or refused. Val has gained so much more than just an affordable, decent, new construction building for herself and her family to call home. Although she may not have been certain what she’d be getting from her partnership with Habitat Brant beyond a safe, decent place to live; Val is now able to say with certainty, “It’s made me more confident, really very confident, with the friendships that I’ve made with [some of the people in the Habitat office], it’s just made me a better person. I am able to speak up for myself and not be ashamed of what I have been given, not necessarily given, but “helped-out-with”. Because before I understood what Habitat was about, I thought it was given to you, now I know and I can tell people, ‘No it’s not like that at all.’ ”
My, how time flies, especially when you are having fun!
The house that Habitat Brant and its volunteers were able to build the Ryders suits them much better than any of the other houses that were available to them for purchase at the time. Being Habitat Home Owners has entitled Val and her family options that would not have been available to them as renters, such as altering their home to suit them even better; the Ryder’s are having some construction work done to their home to add another bedroom and eventually even another bathroom. Over fifteen years have passed since the Ryder’s first joined the Habitat Brant family; they have welcomed son, Eldon, into their Habitat Home and will be mortgage free by the end of 2014.