A single mother of three became a homeowner for the first time Sunday, after a lot of hard work and some help from her friends.

“It’s a dream come true,” says Bouctouche, N.B. resident, Jocelyne Thebeau.

Two months ago, Thebeau applied to Habitat for Humanity, an affordable housing home ownership program.

It involves many hours of work on the part of the successful applicant. Local businesses also kick in some freebies and the program connects the applicant with an interest-free mortgage.

“I never thought I could own a house, me with three kids,” says Thebeau. “It was hard, so when they said I was accepted for the house, I was filled with joy.”

A crew of local politicians, family and friends pitched in and helped finalize the deal Sunday, although Thebeau has been living in the home for a few months.

She says the rental house from which she came was not a home to her and her children.

“The mould was filled everywhere. It was really bad,” she says. “The kids didn’t have a backyard; we were really on the road.”

Unlike many properties through the Habitat for Humanity program, Thebeau’s home is a renovation, rather than a new construction. The federal government is in the process of liquidating some former properties owned by the RCMP.

“We screen all of our applicants as to income, debts, affordability,” says Sandra Nickerson, a member of Habitat for Humanity’s selection committee. “We want the house to be a joy, not a burden.”

Thebeau says the home is somewhat of an early Christmas present for her children.

“When they saw the house they said ‘Mommy, is it going to be our house?’ I said ‘Yes, it is going to be our house.’ ‘For always?’ I said ‘Yep, it is going to be our house always.’”

Thebeau committed to 250 hours of sweat equity as part of the qualifying process. Because the house is a renovation and not a new build, she will be contributing some of those hours to the organization’s thrift store in Moncton.

With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell