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Ontario woman donates home to Indigenous Peoples

Lidia Tromp wanted to give her Tillsonburg, Ont, property to the Indigenous community - so she donated it to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services
Lidia Tromp, left, has donated her house and property in Tillsonburg, Ont. to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS). Tromp worked with Wanda Chorney, manager of title services for OAHS (right), to facilitate the donation.

Lidia Tromp started a new chapter in her life this year by leaving her Tillsonburg, Ont. home of 55 years behind to reside in a nursing home. 

Wanting to give her land back to the Indigenous community, Tromp donated her house and property to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS), a Sault Ste. Marie-based organization that was founded in 1994 in order to provide safe and affordable housing to both urban and rural First Nation, Inuit, and Métis people in Ontario.

“God put it in my head and my heart to give [the house] away,” said Tromp in a news release issued by OAHS. “It was such a liberating thought.

“Good will come from it, I’m sure.”

Tromp’s lawyer reached out to OAHS in June of this year. The housing provider would eventually accept Tromp’s donation - a home that she worked several jobs at a time just to pay the mortgage on - following a home inspection. 

“We’re trying to be a household name with Ontario Aborignal Housing Services, where we want the community to know that there are a lot of opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to acquire affordable and safe housing,” said OAHS spokesperson Sarah McBain, speaking with SooToday Friday. “When the lawyer was looking for Indigenous, non-profit places in the community, we were the lucky ones he decided to call up. So that was really exciting.”

The housing provider says that Tromp’s donation of her home to the Indigenous community with the help of OAHS will “ensure that an Indigenous family is housed safely and affordably to enhance their well-being and future.”  

“It was very surprising, but also very exhilarating. It’s not something that we come across very often,” said McBain. “We get donated land from municipalities and things like that, but having an individual wanting to dedicate their home that they’ve had for the majority of their life to the Indigenous community is really remarkable.”

A report by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association released earlier this year suggests that the province needs to add at least 22,000 subsidized Indigenous housing units within the next 10 years in order to meet the growing demand for affordable housing.