Meet Karen – Leahy’s Lane

Posted: 28-May-2021

I have been paying rent to someone else for 35 years! Becoming a homeowner would mean my hard-earned money will finally be building equity in an investment for me.


Meet Karen one of the 41 new homeowners at Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region’s new affordable condo development, currently under construction on Leahy’s Lane in Peterborough. Karen has a good job working in administration, and in her spare time enjoys scrapbooking and researching her family tree.

Currently, Karen lives in an apartment building on a very busy street in Peterborough. The apartment building has been the target of vandalism, dogs bark at all hours of the day (and night), cars race up and down the street, and it is common to hear people arguing and yelling profanities both inside and outside the building at all hours of the day or night. Plus, the building is not smoke-free, so Karen’s allergies are triggered when other tenants are smoking on their balconies below her apartment or beside the main entrance to the building.

Purchasing a condo in a smoke-free and brand-new building, means I can look forward to living in a healthier environment. Becoming a homeowner instead of renting means I will no longer dread the rent increase notice that comes every year around Christmas time. Owning my own home builds equity in an investment that will one day benefit my children.

Karen is a very hard worker. She was divorced when her two children were quite young and as a single-income household, money was always tight. Wanting to further her education to get a better job, she went back to school to get her college diploma in Business Administration. Working hard, she was able to fast-track and complete a 3- year program in 2 years so that she could get back into the workforce as quickly as possible.

After graduating, Karen often worked two jobs at a time to make ends meet and ensure her children had what they needed, while also paying down her student debt. But saving for a down payment on a house or qualifying for a mortgage was never attainable.

I have been at my current job now for 20 years and have paid off all my debts. While I have managed to put money into savings in recent years, it’s still not enough for a down payment, and the housing market has gotten so expensive.

Karen first heard about the Habitat homeownership program through the local Women’s Business Network. Fast forward a couple of years and while browsing for a potential new apartment in a better neighbourhood, she stumbled across an article about the Leahy’s Lane development.

“I was intrigued, but I didn’t think I would qualify,” she says. “But after a couple of months, a nagging voice in my head said ‘what have I got to lose by attending a virtual info session’ – so I did. Once I learned the building was to be completely smoke-free and that there was a possibility that I might actually qualify for homeownership, I started the application process that evening! When I got the call to say I was accepted, I jumped for joy!”

Karen says she is extremely thankful for this opportunity that “is no longer a distant dream, but something that will actually be a reality soon.” She’s hopeful that by the time the construction of the condos is completed that the pandemic restrictions will be lifted so that she can plan to have her two daughters come visit and help her decorate.

Interested in learning more about Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & Kawartha Region’s homeownership program? Click here.