Community raises thousands for Smiths Falls, Ont. mother in need of accessible housing
SMITHS FALLS, ONT. -- The last 24 hours have been overwhelming for Courtney Preece, but in the best way possible.
The 27-year-old mother shared her story Tuesday with CTV News Ottawa, of the struggle to find accessible and affordable housing in Smiths Falls, Ont. In just one day, fears of homelessness for the wheelchair-bound Preece and her son were gone.
“The amount of love and support that I’ve felt and have been receiving is just incredible,” says Preece, who has received multiple messages of support and offers of help.
But the biggest shock came online from a GoFundMe set up by a friend. On Tuesday morning, about $2,000 had been donated to Preece’s cause of supplementing her rent payments. By Wednesday afternoon, the funds donated had ballooned to more than $18,000.
“It’s been incredible, It’s been almost non-stop,” says Preece, who can’t believe the numbers whenever she checks her phone. “People have just kept throwing donations in.”
Preece says the generosity of the community has now eased worries of where she and her 6-year-old son would live, come June. The donations have also opened the doors to entirely new possibilities, such as renovating non-accessible apartments or even putting a down payment on a home of their own.
“In the end if I can have a place of my own where I don’t have to worry about being kicked out in the future that would be the best end solution,” says Preece.
In the meantime, Preece is set to view an accessible apartment being built not far from her current residence, planned to be ready for July.
“I just thought, this is exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing,” says Ashley Shewchuk, co-founder of Astute Capital, the company building the accessible apartments. “I just don’t think that anyone should have to compromise eating and providing for their family, when they can just have affordable housing.”
“You can move around the unit in a wheelchair with a certain circumference around you where you won’t be hitting doors,” says Lindsay Blair, also a co-founder at Astute Capital, describing the accessible apartment. “It’s not just saying there’s a ramp into the unit. The unit itself is being built specifically to be barrier free.”
For Preece, the house hunting continues, but with a massive weight lifted from her shoulders.
“Thank you to everyone. I appreciate it so much. It’s mind blowing, I’m so appreciative.”