The best Christmas present ever

Tanja Endres’ family celebrates possession of their Habitat for Humanity Home


In a moving celebration, the jingling keys to a brand new home were passed over to its overwhelmed and joyous new owner on Thursday morning.

Tanja Endres, who completed 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ over recent months, while taking an active part in the construction of the home, said she couldn’t believe the big day had finally arrived. 

“I’m quite excited, and quite nervous too,” she told the group of over 20 people who attended the Key Ceremony and Open House held on December 16. “Thank you to everyone who helped build the house. It means the world to us.”

Endres, along with her teen daughter Lara, will now live in the beautiful and energy-efficient home at 210 Broadway Avenue, Killarney. Her adult son Florian also attended the event.

Endres was presented with a Bunn coffeemaker, along with a small blue recycling bin, as part of the ceremony. After a number of speeches, and many, many words of thanks to supporters, Brigitte Forsey, family selection committee chair, officially passed the set of keys over to Endres. 

Afterwards, the group of supporters and family members gathered outside for a very chilly photo in near-minus 20 temperatures. 

“When will I move in? This Saturday afternoon,” said Endres.

The house is located right next door to the Killarney Chapter, Habitat for Humanity’s last completed home, which was constructed just a few years ago. Endre’s home is the third Habitat project completed in the community.

Her new home has a footprint of 1013 square feet, with two bedrooms on the main floor, and was project-managed by capable builder Ervin Buhler, chair of the chapter.

“It’s really heart-warming to do this, and to see the end result,” he said during the event. “I’m happy for Tanja, and pretty emotional myself.”

The homes are intended to help lower-income, steady working families, who cannot meet the required criteria for home ownership through conventional means. 

Habitat for Humanity, Killarney Chapter, plays a vital role by creating a pathway to home ownership of a simple, safe, and affordable house for a family in need of a home. The benefits include stability, security, self-reliance, and dignity for the owner, they said. 

“The partnership also involves a willingness on the part of the family not only to perform 500 hours of sweat equity, which could aptly be considered the down payment, but also to build a sense of community, and a positive relationship with Habitat for Humanity,” said the chapter letter.

Mortgage payments from these homes are then rolled over into the Chapter’s funds, to be used to help fund their next house-building project in the community. 

Donors and supporters, and gifts-in-kind, all play a huge part in completing a Habitat house, and making the miracle happen for a family in search of a place to call home.

“When we put all the small pieces together, just look at what we can do,” said Johanna Friesen, the committee’s fundraising and marketing volunteer. 

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” said Steve Krahn, with Habitat for Humanity. “Handing over the keys is always an emotional day for me. I have seen 250 ceremonies so far for houses, and every one of them is fantastic. But this one is especially memorable, because it has been so long since we have been able to do this together.”

HABITAT HOME READY FOR RESIDENTS – Thursday morning was the big key ceremony day over at the new Habitat for Humanity home at 210 Broadway Avenue. Above, from left, are: Bernie Kroeker, Ted Knight, Florian Endres, Ervin Buhler, new homeowner Tanja Endres, Brigitte Forsey, Lara Endres, and Johanna and Derek Friesen. Below, right: inside the beautiful blue and grey kitchen, Tanja Endres accepts the keys for her new home from Brigitte Forsey, former family selection committee chair for the Killarney Chapter, Habitat for Humanity.