November 7, 2016 - 2:45 PM EST
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A dream come true! Nine families received the keys to their newly-built affordable homes from Habitat for Humanity GTA

A dream come true! Nine families received the keys to their newly-built affordable homes from Habitat for Humanity GTA

Canada NewsWire

Jean-Francois Courville, Executive VP and COO, RBC Wealth Management, also honoured at a laneway naming to commemorate his contributions.

TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, nine local families received the keys to their newly-built homes and the foundation for a brighter future through affordable homeownership in a special Home Dedication ceremony hosted by Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

The ceremony marked the completion of the build project at 357 Birchmount Road in Toronto's east end, constructed on what was previously City of Toronto surplus land.  Over 100 volunteers who helped build the homes, donors, sponsors and members of the community gathered to wish the families well.

Ramin Rahimi and his mother and three siblings are one of the nine families who became new homeowners today. The Rahimi family is very excited to be moving out of their overcrowded two-bedroom apartment and into a safe, decent and affordable home, knowing that so many positive changes lie ahead for them. "Most of my family is pursuing higher education because we believe it is the key to successfully integrating into a new society," said Ramin. "The financial burden meant we had to make many sacrifices regarding our living conditions. We had abandoned all hope of owning a house until we heard about Habitat for Humanity. Now, our dream comes true!"

As part of the Home Dedication ceremony, Habitat GTA's Safety Program Sponsors, Enbridge Gas Distribution, First Alert and CSA Group announced an expansion of the program which has provided safety support to Habitat GTA build sites, ReStores and offices since 2013. As a result of this focused attention on safety, Habitat for Humanity recently won Silver in Canada's Safest Employers awards, presented by Canadian Occupational Safety.

Today, Safety Program Sponsors introduced a new element to the program, focused on the safety of Habitat homeowner families. This new initiative will provide all new Habitat homeowner families with a First Alert Fire Safety Kit complete with home fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector.

First Alert, Enbridge and CSA Group have also created a video for Habitat families to educate them about the safety precautions they need to take in their

home to protect their families from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Following the Dedication, Public Educator, Sherry Ballantyne conducted a fire safety tour of one of the homes and outlined a home fire escape plan.

"Safety within our organization and in the communities we serve is our highest priority. With that in mind, it's a natural partnership where we work to ensure the highest standards of safety for all Habitat GTA activities on the construction site, in the office and at Habitat's ReStores," said Malini Giridhar, Vice President, Market Development and Public & Government Affairs at Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. "We are proud and honoured to be the official Safety Sponsor in partnership with CSA Group and First Alert."

Following the dedication, the crowd gathered to witness the naming of the laneway next to the homes in honour of a long-serving former Board Chair of Habitat for Humanity in Toronto, donor and supporter, Jean-Francois (J-F) Courville, Executive VP and COO of RBC Wealth Management.

"I am deeply honoured to be recognized by Habitat GTA in this way," said Mr. Courville. "I know that Courville Drive will be a place where these families will thrive and make happy memories for years to come.  I feel so honored that my long-standing love affair with the broad Habitat GTA family is being recognized in this way.  I have been so gratified by the energy of Habitat GTA and its partner families throughout the years."

To complete the celebrations for these families, Enbridge Gas Distribution hosted a community event and lunch complete with a "Smellfie" booth where attendees took photos of themselves smelling the odour of natural gas. This unique smell is intentional so that anyone who smells it can ensure they get to a safe area.

About Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area (GTA):

Habitat for Humanity GTA is a non-profit housing organization working with communities to build homes with local families in need of affordable housing.  By offering zero down payment, no-interest mortgages capped at 30 percent of a family's income, Habitat for Humanity GTA offers families a hand up, empowering them to achieve stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership, so that they can build a better life for themselves and their children. With the support of donors and volunteers, we build homes along with partner families in Brampton, Caledon, Toronto and York Region, serving two-thirds of the GTA. Since 1988, Habitat GTA has built more than 300 homes in partnership with families. Habitat GTA is one of more than 1,400 Habitat for Humanity affiliates worldwide sharing a common vision and purpose.

Habitat for Humanity GTA also operates 10 Habitat ReStore retail home improvement stores across the GTA, which sell donated, new and gently-used home furnishing and renovation materials at a fraction of the original price. ReStore proceeds directly support building Habitat homes while also helping the environment by diverting thousands of tons of household materials from landfill annually. Learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter @HabitatGTA or on Facebook Habitat for Humanity GTA.

About Enbridge Gas Distribution

Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. has a more than 165-year history and is Canada's largest natural gas distribution company. It is owned by Enbridge Inc., a Canadian-based leader in energy transportation and distribution. Enbridge has ranked as one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations for the past seven years and was also named as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers in 2015. Enbridge Gas Distribution and its affiliates distribute natural gas to over two million customers in Ontario, Quebec, New York State and New Brunswick. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @EnbridgeGasNews.

About First Alert

First Alert® is Canada's most trusted brand in home safety. We are recognized by our premium standard of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, safes, and so much more. No other manufacturer offers as versatile of a product line, while also driving expansion in the safety category. We are the consumers' #1 destination for fire and home safety information.

We have been the preferred partner of top retailers having championed the home safety consumer segment for over fifty years. The First Alert® brand team has great pride in our community involvement including a longstanding, extensive outreach to fire service throughout the nation.

About CSA Group

CSA Group is a global organization dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. CSA Group is one of the largest standards development organizations in North America – conducting research and developing standards for a broad range of technologies and functional areas.  CSA Group is also a global provider of testing, inspection and certification services for products in many market sectors – and a leader in safety and environmental certification for Canada and the US. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group, please visit

SOURCE Habitat for Humanity GTA

Carol Davies, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications, Office: 416-755-7353 ex: 259, [email protected]; Karen Lorenowicz, Communications & Public Relations Officer, Office: 416-245-2475, [email protected] CNW Group 2016

Source: Canada Newswire (November 7, 2016 - 2:45 PM EST)

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