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Ontario woman donates home to Indigenous community: 'Good will come from it, I'm sure'

'God put it in my head and my heart to give [the house] away. It was such a liberating thought,' the selfless woman said of her decision.

Ontario woman donates home to Indigenous community: 'Good will come from it, I'm sure'
Cover Image Source: Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services

When deciding to spend the next leg of their life in a nursing home, most individuals struggle with the decision of what to do with their beloved home. For Lidia Tromp, however, the answer was obvious: donate her house and the land it stands on, back to the Indigenous community. According to a press release from Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) on Friday, Lidia Tromp—who was born and raised in Holland—bought the house in Tillsonburg, near London, Ontario, 55 years ago when she moved to Canada. Upon moving into the house, she discovered a set of iron bookends in the cupboard that, decades later, inspired her to give back to the Indigenous community.


Depicting a person slumped over on the back of a horse, the bookends are "believed to represent the suffering of Indigenous people from their loss of land, children, and other forms of oppression," the press release states. "God put it in my head and my heart to give [the house] away. It was such a liberating thought," Tromp said in an interview with Ontario Aboriginal Housing Service's Wanda Chorney, Manager of Title Services. "Good will come from it, I'm sure."


The selfless senior approached her lawyer about her wish to donate her home to the Indigenous community and was eventually put in touch with Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services in June this year. "Through contacting our Titles Department and working together with Lidia, her legal team, and friend Yvonne Hill, an inspection was completed on Lidia’s home and our Executive team graciously accepted the donation," the release revealed. "We're trying to be a household name with Ontario Aboriginal 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," OAHS spokesperson, Sarah McBain, told SooToday. "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."


"It was very surprising, but also very exhilarating. It’s not something that we come across very often," McBain added. "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." Over the years, Tromp—described as a high-spirited and kind woman—reportedly worked several jobs simultaneously to pay for the mortgage on her home. However, she still found time to contribute to her community by making handcrafted dolls. Over the course of her life, Tromp has made over 10,000 handcrafted dolls and even sent some to young children in other countries.


"She has the kindest, gentlest, and most giving heart and soul of anyone I have ever met and likely will ever meet. I was honored to be the representative from OAHS to meet Lidia, I was incredibly moved," Wanda said of meeting Tromp for the interview. During their meeting, the elderly woman also made it clear that she wanted Canadians to know that they too can do what she has done. By donating her home to the Indigenous people with the help of OAHS, Tromp wanted to help provide an Indigenous family with safe and affordable rental housing and thereby ensure their well-being and future. "I hope things work out better now for the Native nation than what has been done so far," she said.


McBain told CTV News in an email that no one has yet moved into the home donated by Tromp. The corporation, which manages and maintains the properties in the rental housing programs and also offers a homeownership program, reportedly prioritizes individuals and families escaping violence—including women and children who are living in shelters, victims of sex trafficking and people experiencing homelessness or those who are at risk of becoming homeless. Tromp is currently residing in a care facility in Tillsonburg.

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