Mensur Mohammed, his wife Sameya and their four children once shared a three-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in a public housing complex, where noise, cockroaches and a lack of space were a daily burden.
On top of the cramped conditions, gang and drug activity were common in the neighborhood. “It was just not good for the kids in that neighborhood,” says Mohammed, a taxi driver. “It was difficult, but since you have no choice, you’ve got to live with it. But since we got this house, everything is changed — the way we are, the way we’re living.”
In 2012, the family moved into a four-bedroom, two-bath home in Habitat Toronto’s Acme Crescent development. Theirs is the sixth of 12 homes to be built on the piece of land in a quiet neighborhood in the northwest corner of the city. Mohammed says his kids feel much freer and safer in the new neighborhood.
Having their own space to relax and study has helped 16-year-old Faysal, 14-year-old Nadiya, 7-year-old Amir and 5-year-old Akrem do better in school. “I come home, and I see the kids happy,” Mohammed says. “I thank Habitat all the time.”
Mohammed is not just thankful for the home, but for the backyard as well, where he loves to cook on the grill. “In the summer time, as soon as I come home, what I really like to do is go in the backyard and do the barbecue for [my family] and make them happy,” he says.
From that backyard, his family’s future looks drastically different than it did before. Mohammed feels confident that his children can and will be anything they want, thanks in part to their decent, affordable home.
“There’s no limit for them,” he says. “And I think that’s so wonderful.”