When Javarn Eastley sat down to celebrate his seventh birthday this year, there was one present that couldn’t be wrapped. A new home. Javarn and his family are the latest Invercargill family to be accepted for the Habitat for Humanity rent to buy programme. A week before Christmas they were handed the keys to their new home. For Javarn the new home was just as exciting as Christmas, and just as exciting as his 7th birthday, which he celebrated on Saturday. His new room has a racing car mural on it. The mural takes up a whole wall and is Javarn’s favourite part of the house. He’s also pretty keen on the sandpit in the back yard.
“We have a sandpit, I have never had one of those before.”
Javarn’s mum Leana Young said the family had been stuck in a cycle of rental houses in Invercargill for about 10 years and the idea of owning their own home had seemed impossible.
The family, which also includes dad Duane Eastley and daughter Shakayla Eastley, 5, were thrilled to receive the keys to the Waikiwi home the week before Christmas. They are the seventeenth family to receive keys to a Habitat for Humanity house in Invercargill in the past 20 years. When she was handed the keys she couldn’t stop the tears, Young said.
“We had gotten to the point were we never thought we would be able to own a house like this.”
Once you took living costs and rent out of a weekly salary there wasn’t much left to put away for a house, Young said.
“When I held the key it was like an instant relief… It’s everything we have ever wanted”
The couple started the application process to be part of the Habitat for Humanity programme more than a year ago.
Habitat for Humanity Invercargill chairman Stephen Falconer said the Eastley family were perfect candidates for the rent-to-buy programme.
“They are a young hardworking family who needed a hand to get started.”
The selection process took about a year, Falconer said.
“We choose the families very carefully… the programme is supposed to be a hand up not a hand out.”
The programme works by turning the rent that tenants have paid for five years into a deposit on the house, he said.
Once the deposit was paid the family continued to pay off the house as they normally would.
The family was also required to do 450 volunteer hours for Habitat for Humanity Invercargill, Falconer said.
Eastley said the programme had changed his family’s life for the better.
“It was a long process but it was worth it, every meeting we felt one step closer to getting our house.”
The house was fitted with new carpet, double glazed windows, heating systems, outdoor area, garden and sand pit for the kids, he said.
“My kids are warm at night and have a backyard and garden to play in, we have even started a veggie garden.”
“It’s great we love it.”