They say home is where the heart is, but when the home you are living in is not safe, the headache can be a real headache. That was the situation for a Nova Scotia family, until neighbors stepped in to change things.
When Alvero Wiggins was diagnosed with kidney failure, it created a domino effect. The rigors of the treatment meant spending nine hours a day on dialysis. That meant quitting work. Unable to earn a living, Wiggins, his wife, and their four children were forced to move into public housing. The dangerous conditions they faced there were a tough adjustment.
Fortunately, Wiggins had forged strong ties to her community. Before her illness, she had earned her stripes as a neighborhood activist with two local youth-related organizations, Hope blossoms Y LOVE Nova Scotia.
Sarah MacLaren had worked alongside him for years. Having seen how much Wiggins invested of himself in seeking to help others, he felt that he deserved more than receiving something in return. Finding her family a safe and healthy place to live became her top priority.
Last spring, MacLaren released a GoFundMe campaign hoping to bring in enough money to buy the house and meet some of the Wiggins’ living expenses. Although donations came in the thousands, it wasn’t enough to make a dent in Halifax’s red-hot housing market.
While MacLaren was concerned about her efforts to miss the mark, she wasn’t destined to be the only fairy godmother in this story. Enter real estate agent Brenda MacKenzie.
MacKenzie spearheads a local housing initiative, A Home for All. Over the past 15 years, she and her colleagues have donated a portion of their commissions to various housing-related charities.
For MacKenzie, who is also on dialysis waiting for a kidney donor, the Wiggins family’s story struck a chord. Together with his charity board, a decision was made that this year’s proceeds would go towards helping Alvero, his wife Chelcie, and their children Alaya, Javier, and Jaden find a new place to call home.
But even with the capital increase, finding suitable housing was proving to be a challenge. Once again, fate intervened.
One of MacKenzie’s ads in Halifax, a four-bedroom townhouse in close proximity to a park and pool, had been inundated with multiple offers when it hit the market. They all failed.
The “Wiggins Team” was quick to submit an offer, which was accepted.
“This specific house was a miracle house, it was a unicorn house,” MacLaren said. CBC News. “It’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life.”
The family hopes to be able to move into their new digs by the end of the month. Meanwhile, A Home For Everyone has assembled a volunteer home inspector and attorney, as well as a team of businesses to donate a large number of home improvements and furnishings.
“It will mean everything, it will be a sense of security to live here, to have a home, to have a place to call home. My kids love this place. It will be very happy for them, ”Wiggins told CBC. “I don’t even know how to find the words to thank everyone who has supported this dream.”
(LOOK Threesixfive Media’s video on this story today.)
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