SAULT STE. MARIE -- Just weeks after completing its latest build in the city, Sault Ste. Marie's Habitat for Humanity is getting started on its next project.

It will be building a two-storey, semi-detached home for two families to move into throughout 2021, a first of its kind for the organization.

"We've, of course, built semis before, but never one in a lot like this that sort of forces us to build up," said Katie Blunt, executive director.

Blunt said the group hopes to retain the momentum it gained throughout 2020.

"Despite the challenges with COVID, we've seen lots of community support," she said. "There's been lots of local building vendors and tradesmen donating their time and materials to the build."

Habitat for Humanity will be able to move two families in once complete.

One of those is a family of four who've spent most of their lives living as refugees.

'We came to heaven'

"When we moved to Canada, I said to my family that we came to heaven, because we had a bad life there," said Anasho Sale Dabi, recipient of a new home.

Sale Dabi and his wife spent 17 years in an Ethiopian refugee camp. After moving to Canada in 2017 with their two young children, the Sale Dabi's moved to three different cities before settling in the Sault.

Now, they said they're happy to have a place that's finally theirs.

"We never had this one good thing for us," Sale Dabi said. "For my family when we were there, we had been in the refugee for 17 years, there's nothing there."

They will be joined by Samantha Kyle and her two daughters as the other recipients of a new home. The mother of two said they've outgrown the apartment they currently rent and has longed for a place she can own.

"With rent prices going up, I always thought it would just be a dream," she said. "Only now that we're beginning to do this process a little bit more, is it beginning to sink in and it's very exciting."

Pending delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the homes are expected to be completed by December of next year.