News / Winnipeg

Families excited to move into homes built by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter

The first two Winnipeg families receive keys for new Habitat for Humanity houses that are part of the highly ambitious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

Fatima and Osman Mohammed smile in the kitchen of their new home in Winnipeg as their mother, Deka, prepares a Somali dish of injera. Zubeyda Mohammed peeks over her siblings shoulders.

Mike Sudoma / For Metro

Fatima and Osman Mohammed smile in the kitchen of their new home in Winnipeg as their mother, Deka, prepares a Somali dish of injera. Zubeyda Mohammed peeks over her siblings shoulders.

A single father of two young girls and a refugee family from Kenya are counting the number of sleeps until they can move into homes they helped build.

On Monday, they became the first two families to receive keys for new Habitat for Humanity houses that were part of the highly ambitious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

The former U.S. president and his wife were in Winnipeg this past July for the building blitz that saw 16 homes spring up along Lyle Street in St. James.

In Todd Gauthier’s case, the Carters contributed their construction skills to the corner lot home he will share with daughters Chloie, 9, and Carmin, 8.

“It was amazing to meet (the Carters) and it was so beautiful watching them work,” said the 38-year-old, who forced back tears as he spoke about the experience and the former president’s three decades of commitment to the organization that helps people who would otherwise have little chance at home ownership.

Mayor Brian Bowman, right, welcomes Todd Gauthier and his daughters, Carmin and Chloie, into their new home.

Mike Sudoma/For Metro

Mayor Brian Bowman, right, welcomes Todd Gauthier and his daughters, Carmin and Chloie, into their new home.

“One of my major goals in life was to give my girls a home and give them a future,” said Gauthier, who, with his daughters, has had to move several times in the past few years.

“We are looking forward to leaving our apartment on Dec. 1 and getting settled in,” he said, adding his work on the house isn’t quite done.

“The girls have said they want bedrooms downstairs and I need to work on a bathroom,” the masonry worker said, chuckling.

The Mohammed family is also eager to spend their first night sleeping under their new roof.

Shekure, Deka and their children Fatima, Zubeyda, Osman, Zam Zam and Hamza came to Winnipeg from Kenya in 2003 after living in a refugee camp and can’t wait to leave their downtown two-bedroom apartment.

Thousands of people took part in the Winnipeg build that was part of a pan-Canadian project building 150 homes for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

President Carter was in the midst of working on the Gauthiers' home in the extreme heat when the 93-year-old began to feel weak and was transferred to St. Boniface Hospital. He was able to return to the work site the following day, although he refrained from swinging a hammer.

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