Editorial: Partnerships, for the people
● By Richard Gaw
From its inception, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County has operated tirelessly and selflessly to provide affordable housing opportunities for the citizens of this county, and in a region where being able to afford a proper living space has priced out entire swaths of our county’s demographic, they are the exceptional outliers.
The extent and reach of the organization’s humanity is staggering. Since 1989, Habitat volunteers have worked with future homeowners to build and renovate more than 150 homes throughout the county, to meet the needs of low-income families who dream of being able to live in their own home. The proof of this “hand up, not a hand out” mission is being seen throughout the county – in Downingtown, in West Chester and Cambria Terrace in Coatesville, a single family and twin home community that’s being constructed at the former site of the Oak Street Projects. Once complete, the community will introduce more than 60 families to a dream they previously had never thought would be possible.
While these achievements are monumental, they don’t happen overnight, and they do not happen without hard work. They happen through partnerships, beginning with the future homeowners, who devote 200 to 400 hours of sweat equity, as well as take classes in budgeting and home improvement.
These achievements also happen through the many partnerships Habitat enjoys with local agencies. On May 16, West Grove Mayor Stephen Black joined Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell in a ceremonial groundbreaking at Habitat’s newest project at Valley Road and South Guernsey Road in West Grove. When completed, the community will open the doors to 40 homes to families. To help in the finances associated with this project, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County recently received two $10,000 donations from State Farm and The Longwood Rotary Club.
While Longwood Rotary’s support of the Habitat for Humanity’s West Grove project is in its early stages, State Farm has contributed more than $100,000 in grants to Habitat for Humanity of Chester County since 1996.
Nationally, State Farm has supported Habitat for Humanity since 1994, and has served as the primary national corporate sponsor of Habitat’s youth initiatives since 2007 -- with donations of more than $7.5 million.
While the support of agencies like State Farm and the Longwood Rotary Club help fund the mission of Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, the breadth of partnerships does not end there.
“We challenge others to help as well,” said Bob Norris, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Chester County. “Whether it is to pass information about the West Grove homes to families in our community who may be interested in finally owning a home, to volunteer on the job site, or to consider a donation to help a neighbor obtain the American dream of home ownership.
“These four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes are intended as affordable work force housing to enable Chester County’s first responders, teachers, tradespeople and others to achieve the goal of home ownership, and to be able to find a home like this for $175,000, with 0 percent down and a 1 percent mortgage is a dream.”
From its inception, the mission of Habitat for Humanity of Chester County is to do their part to create a world “where everyone has a decent place to live.” Building homes, communities and hope, however, requires the ability of others to extend the good hand of partnership. The hands of State Farm and the Longwood Rotary Club are now fully extended in Habitat’s newest project.
Now is the time to extend your own.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Chester County – or to make a donation or obtain information about volunteering -- visit www.hfhcc.org.