Meagan Randle and her daughters Samantha and Cathryn Barney slice off generous portions of Black Forest cake while celebrating ownership of their new Habitat for Humanity home with Habitat representatives and Town of Ladysmith councillors Friday

Randle family moves into Ladysmith Habitat for Humanity home

Meagan Randle and her two daughters became official home owners March 8, with assistance from Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island.

Meagan Randle and her daughters Samantha and Cathryn Barney have a home to call their very own through the assistance of Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island (HFHMVI).

The family celebrated their official ownership of the Ladysmith home March 22 at a small ceremony attended by family, HFHMVI representatives, Ladysmith town councillors Duck Paterson, Bill Drysdale and Jillian Dashwood and Rev. Daniel Fournier of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church.

Randle and her daughters moved into the home Jan. 15, but it wasn’t until she’d completed her mandatory 500 “sweat equity hours” on March 8 — coinciding serendipitously with International Women’s Day — that she became the official owner.

Randle put in her time by assisting with Ladysmith Family and Friends Resource Program (LaFF) functions, working at ReStore Nanaimo —Habitat’s second-hand building materials store — and by helping take down the lights around town once the Festival of Lights wrapped up, she said. All while working full time at the Frank Jameson Community Centre as a lifeguard, swimming instructor and temporary receptionist.

The March 22 ceremony marked the completion of a process that began with Randle’s submission of an application to HFHMVI in early November. Randle and her daughters met with Habitat representatives for an interview later that month, then learned in early December that they’d been selected as the home’s new owners.

Nine-year-old Samantha thinks their new home is “amazing,” and she and Cathryn, 7, have already repainted their bedrooms with their favourite colours.

“Mine is pink,” Samantha said, “and Cathryn’s is yellow.”

Randle is equally enamoured with their new three-bedroom bungalow.

“I love it,” she said. “I would never be able to own a house without Habitat, so I’m very thankful for it.”

Randle’s Strathcona Road home was built in 2008 and 2009 as a joint project led by Leadership Ladysmith and HFHMVI on land donated by the Town. Teresa Battle moved into the home with her two children in 2009 then decided to “pay the home forward” when she married and moved.

Teresa Pring, executive director of HFHMVI, said the equity held by Battle in the home was given back to the organization and used to purchase a new washer and dryer, do some painting, refurbish the home’s front step and touch up the landscaping.

Randle will pay her “no-interest” mortgage to HFHMVI at a rate equivalent to 25 per cent of her monthly income, Pring said.

“Over the lifetime of Meagan’s mortgage,” Pring added, “that’s probably going to save her $200,000 based on an average interest rate of four per cent.”

HFHMVI aims to build 20 additional homes by 2020, Pring added, and if Ladysmith “had a piece of land that they would like us to build a duplex on, we would be here in a heartbeat because we loved building here. [Ladysmith’s] was the best volunteerism.”