AS a single mum of three boys, Celeste Sinclair has spent years seeking ways to provide her family with a safe home.
Against all odds in a tough housing market, that has finally happened after charity Habitat for Humanity provided the lifeline Sinclair needed to step into the housing market on the Mornington Peninsula.
The young family have just taken ownership of a new home in Crib Point, one of several properties built by Habitat for Humanity Victoria, which is part of the global Habitat for Humanity network, working in more than 70 countries towards its vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Established in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International is the world’s number one not-for-profit provider of housing and improved shelter for low-income families, which it does by offering “partner families” like Celeste’s the opportunity to contribute to building their own homes alongside volunteers, and by paying an affordable loan.
Sinclair’s struggle to provide affordable and reliable housing is like that of hundreds of thousands of families around the country.
She recalls living in houses with a leaking roof or a front door that fell off. With most of her time spent homeschooling her neurodiverse sons and working multiple jobs to make ends meet, having a place to home has always been an unreachable goal.
“A home to us means stability,” Celeste reflects. “I’m looking forward to my sons remembering their address, and knowing it off by heart, because we live here and we’re not going to move.”
Despite the challenges she’s faced, Celeste carries with her a heart for helping others. During the week, she tutors autistic children in their unique ways of learning. Her dream to pursue art therapy stems from a personal passion to see neurodiverse individuals have access to ways they can express themselves to heal and grow.
“A social worker who was working with me when I was younger suggested I paint my feelings. I tried it and it was amazing. I felt I could get feelings out I ordinarily couldn’t… I’m hoping I can provide a safe space for others to express themselves in the same way; especially those who find it hard to express themselves in traditional means,” she said.
As a Habitat for Humanity Victoria partner family, Sinclair receives the hand-up she needs to work towards affordable home ownership. More than just a hand-up, she and her sons get to participate in building their future home with HFHV, as well as volunteer time with the ReStore Rosebud opportunity shop.
“Seeing my eldest son Ethan on site interacting with the builders and the other volunteers has been absolutely beautiful. He is usually really anxious around new people and situations. There was one point when he came down and Phil Curtis was here… which he thought was absolutely amazing,” she said.
“Phil showed him how to use the drop saw. It was awesome to see Ethan interacting with people and feeling comfortable.”
With the help of Habitat for Humanity Victoria, Sinclair has the hand-up she needs to provide her family with a stable place to call home.
Receiving the keys to her new home on Thursday (15 September) was like unlocking the door to a new chapter of her family’s life.