Pamela Schilling and her daughter Kaitlyn will move into a new Habitat for Humanity-built house at the Meadow Hill Development in south Nanaimo that will be accessible for Kaitlyn, who has been diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia and uses a wheelchair. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

VIDEO: Habitat for Humanity’s newest build is wheelchair accessible

Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island dedicates last two houses at Meadow Hill Development

Pamela Schilling says her daughter Kaitlyn will gain a new sense of independence after the two move into their Habitat for Humanity-built house in south Nanaimo.

Kaitlyn suffers from Friedreich’s ataxia, a condition that damages the nervous system. She uses a wheelchair, and while their current house has a stair lift, their new house, at Habitat’s Meadow Hill Development, will make life easier.

A home dedication ceremony was held Thursday, Nov. 23.

“She’ll be able to have a shower without having to transfer six times into the bathroom, into the tub and then have people help her,” said Schilling. “With this shower, she’ll be able to roll in and do her own shower … she’ll be able to cook with the stovetop and learn how to cook because I haven’t been able to teach her. She’ll be able to go through the doors without hitting them. She’ll be able to help with the laundry. Things that we take for granted, everyday chores, she’ll be able to do them and love doing them.”

Also having their home dedicated were Bianca Myers, Justin Bagshaw and daughters Nevaeh and Bristol. The family will move from an older, poorly insulated home, infested with bugs, which saw hydro bills exceeding $1,100 last winter.

“I love the open concept of the house, where I can have my kids playing [while I’m] cooking and they can just be right there … upstairs they have their own rooms and their own bathroom and plus our master bathroom has a walk-in shower, so my partner can be showering in the morning, I can be in the other bathroom getting my girls ready,” said Myers, a full-time health care assistant student.

The two houses represent the final two at the development, but Rob Hallam, Habitat Mid-Vancouver Island executive director, said plans are in the works for the next project, although he couldn’t get into specifics.

“Now we‘ve got some options that we’re looking at in Nanaimo, Duncan and Port Alberni … one of our mandates is we predominantly build in Nanaimo and our interest is to of course continue building here because there is a huge need, but also to expand into the rest of the areas,” said Hallam.



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