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HOAP – Past, Present and Future The Home Ownership Affordability Partnership, also known as HOAP, is an initiative of the RAHB, Hamilton-Halton Home Builders’ Association, Scotiabank, City of Hamilton and local charity, Threshold School of Building. Hope is actually what those involved with this initiative provide to struggling families trying to achieve the security of owning their own home. The benefits of HOAP include neighbourhood revitalization and investment, promotion of affordable home ownership for existing tenant households, freeing up existing social housing units for other needy households and training youth to have marketable job skills in the construction and renovation industry. The procedure followed to ensure HOAP’s objectives are fulfilled include: - the selection of families who currently reside in CityHousing Hamilton social housing units and who have a desire and the financial means for securing affordable homeownership. - Working with a REALTOR® and the Multiple Listing Service®, the selected families will identify single-family properties within a price range that meets their needs and requirements. The dwelling units will require renovation and rehabilitation work. - The selected families will submit an “Offer to Purchase” for their respective dwellings with REALTOR® advice and guidance. - The selected families will apply for Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) funding, which is a program financed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and delivered by the City of Hamilton. - The Threshold School of Building will co-ordinate the renovation and rehabilitation of the dwellings (while teaching students and volunteers some building skills), including the monitoring of “sweat equity” participation by the families. - The selected families will be required to provide 500 hours of sweat equity on their houses or other project houses within three years of taking ownership of their houses. - Upon completion of the renovation and rehabilitation work, the families will move into their respective dwellings. - The property values will increase as a result of the renovations and rehabilitation, there will be a second mortgage registered on title that will represent the difference in value between the amount paid for the house by the selected families and the market value of the renovated houses. Funding from the initiative has come from the following sources: City of Hamilton’s Housing Hamilton Innovations Fund (HHIF), the RAHB and the Ontario Real Estate Association Foundation (OREA). HOAP also gratefully receives many donations of renovation materials for these projects. In 2004, two homes were completed within eight months. The Lau’s, originally from Hong Kong, were one of the first HOAP recipient families and know the tremendous value of being the beneficiary of such a community initiative. Because of HOAP, Mei So, a 54 year-old mother of three owns a unit for the first time in her life. She and her family not only own a house, but they own a place they now can call “home”. The Limbombe family, formerly from South Africa, have five children from the ages eight to 18. The HOAP initiative represented an opportunity for parents Basunga and Nicole to be together with their children in a safe and healthy family environment. In addition to raising his family in their new home, Basunga, a South African doctor, is working towards achieving his license to practice in Canada. Our most recent HOAP initiative is with a widow. Nicola Miligovic’s Canadian journey with her two children began four years ago. Leaving behind an existence in a place they called home in war torn Bosnia took tremendous courage and hope. However, with the assistance of the Home Ownership Affordability Partnership, Nicola and her young family now have a place to call home in Stoney Creek. With the success stories of each of the above families and with the dedication of all partners, HOAP will be provided to at least two more families by year’s end. With two of HOAP’s three projects finalized and the third family about to move into their home, the City of Hamilton has been able to place two more needy families in subsidized housing units. The first, a single mother of two sons was living with her ex-husband and in-laws. When the house was sold, she was able to move into her subsidized unit within a month. The second family of six was living in an apartment and paying over $1,000.00 rent. The family’s source of income is ODSP as the father has lost his eye. Indirectly, HOAP has assisted an additional nine people secure affordable rental housing by freeing up subsidized housing units vacated by the Lau and Limbombe families. HOAP not only educates social housing families on the opportunities and benefits of homeownership and new homeowners with the responsibilities of homeownership. It also demonstrates that although the human spirit is strong, it’s remarkable when working together.
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