Habitat for Humanity community rising in West Grove
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, a 6.8-acre patch of ground in West Grove will soon become the realization of a dream for 40 families, many of whom never believed that affording their own home could be possible.
Dedicated at a groundbreaking ceremony last May, construction recently began at Willow Street and South Guernsey Road on what will be become a community of four-bedroom, two-bathroom community of homes that will be 1,680 square feet in size. Valued at $230,000, each home will be sold at $175,000, with no down payment required and an interest rate between 1 and 3 ½ percent through the USDA.
In order to qualify, families of one to four members must earn between $43,700 and $69,900, and families from five to eight must earn between $57,000 and $92,250, annually.
Designed by Dennis Melton Associates, the community will be divided into eight blocks of five town homes each. The first block is currently under construction and should be completed by late spring.
Habitat for Humanity of Chester County is now accepting applications for home ownership.
“This is an incredible opportunity for people of more modest means to be able to live in a four-bedroom, two-bath house with public sewer and water in a growing community like West Grove and very near great schools – all for a mortgage that will average about $925 a month,” said Bob Norris, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Chester County. “Where else in this area can you find a four-bedroom home for under $1,000 a month, with no down payment required and a one percent mortgage?”
The timing of the community's construction dovetails with one of the most pressing issues facing Chester County today: affordable housing. In its latest figures, a housing market website calculated that in November 2018, the median sale price for a home in the county was $347,900. This past November, the site wrote, the median sale price jumped to $370,000, an increase of 6 percent or $22,100 as compared to last year.
The site of Habitat for Humanity homes being built in West Grove is an antidote intended to reverse what Norris called the “domino effect” of housing costs in the county, one that reaches a demographic that has been otherwise priced out of the home ownership market.
“The homeowners in this community will be the technicians who work at our local hospitals, the younger teachers in our local school districts, the supervisors who work for our local mushroom industry and the entry-level police officers who serve our communities,” Norris said.
To help in the finances associated with the West Grove 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.
The West Grove community is the latest in a series of housing opportunities that Habitat for Humanity of Chester County has built since it was formed in 1989. To date, Habitat has built 154 homes in Coatesville, Downingtown, Phoenixville and West Chester, and its homeowners have contributed about 41,000 total hours of “sweat equity” into their homes – and their neighbors' homes, as well.
Before turning the key into a home, each homeowner is required to dedicate a minimum of 50 hours of work. It's become a key component of Habitat's mission to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.
“Every single homeowner who lives here will have contributed with their own bare hands, from putting up siding to raking lawns, to painting and even installing counter tops and shelving,” Norris said. “Part of Habitat's mantra is that a homeowner needs to help build the home they and their family will ultimately live in.”
To learn more about the Habitat for Humanity community in West Grove, contact Bobette Meeter, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County's Director of Family Services at 610-384-7993, ext. 14, or visit https://hfhcc.org/westgrovesite/.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.