January 2020 | What’s Happening at Habitat

Build a House Build a Dream Competition in March

We’re 8 weeks away from the 17th Annual Build a House Build a Dream Competition! We are currently looking for volunteers, judges, and students to participate in this year’s event.

Click here to register or volunteer for the event.

New Year, New Home in West Grove

We are still looking for future homeowners for our West Grove site! These spots will continue to fill up so now is the time to apply for a home.

“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?”

For more information on applying for a home in West Grove, visit www.hfhcc.org/WestGroveSite

Chip Huston Resigns as Executive Director

After more than 17 years serving the Chester County area, Chip has stepped down. On behalf of every family, staff member, and volunteer, we thank Chip for all that he’s done for each of us.

Click here for more information

Sign Up Today for Spring Team Builds!

Companies are invited to arrange a day for their employees to participate on the construction site as part of  Team Build. Working outside of the corporate environment on the Habitat construction site shows groups how to achieve goals that at first seemed impossible. Habitat helps to build stronger teams, improve team decision-making abilities, and helps individuals within teams develop a new appreciation for collaboration. Spring is right around the corner and a perfect time to get out of the office and help the community!

Visit our Team Build page to let us know you’d like to participate!

Donating, Shopping and Volunteering at the ReStore Helps Build Homes.

The Caln ReStore is a great place to donate, shop and volunteer! All proceeds from the store help build affordable housing in Chester County. Visit the links below to donate, shop and volunteer at the ReStore! Check out the links before to get involved with the ReStore!


Executive Director, Chip Huston, Steps Down

Habitat for Humanity of Chester County (HfHCC) and Executive Director Charles L. “Chip” Huston, IV, has announced that he stepped down effective December 31, 2019. Chip has served as the Executive Director for over 17 years since joining the organization in 2002 and is one of the longest-serving Executive Directors of the Habitat International Affiliates.

“My commitment to the mission remains paramount in my life,” says Chip. “It has been a trying year of personal challenges that have kept me out of the office and away from the mission I love so dearly.  Habitat needs and deserves a full-time daily leader to address the issues that arise from the operations of the business. Right now, I am not able to give that effort. Stepping away at this time allows the Board of Habitat to secure the leadership needed as construction begins in earnest in West Grove and wraps up in Coatesville.”

During his 17 years as Executive Director, Chip’s leadership and advocacy in the community helped increase the impact of HfHCC on the need for affordable housing in Chester County. During his tenure as Executive Director, Habitat volunteers and donors built over 90 homes in partnership with families in need. Habitat will continue its mission with 40 more homes currently underway in the borough of West Grove, and 10 more in the City of Coatesville. HfHCC also opened a thrift shop in Caln Township called the Habitat ReStore that is still going strong today, which supports homebuilding efforts through its sales of new or gently used donated items. Chip also initiated a “land bank,” purchasing land as it became available for future home construction while the land was both available and affordable.

Outside of Chester County, Mr. Huston and his team led two trips to Louisiana to build three homes for Hurricane Katrina victims and has worked with former President Jimmy Carter on his annual Carter Work Project in Los Angeles. “The experiences gained over the past 17 years have been invaluable to me as a leader, but also as a person. Seeing the devastation in New Orleans was heartbreaking but building those houses and helping one of the neighbors repair her house was amazing. It seems so little in the grand scheme, but to those families, at that moment, it was a huge blessing.”

“We are grateful to Chip for all that he has done to benefit our communities through the years,” says Andrew Signore, Board President. “His dedication to providing affordable housing has changed the quality of life for so many people and has strengthened our neighborhoods and Chester County. His passion, dedication and commitment have been a driving force for HfHCC.”

As for the future, Chip will be taking time off, and deciding ways that he can continue to contribute to the community. “It’s been a long year and I need to get back to my full capabilities. I am not done helping people in Chester County. It’s my home and a place I love. One of the best places to live, work and raise a family in the United States. A door is closing but God has a plan so I look forward to the window He will open.”

On behalf of the HfHCC staff, Habitat homeowners and friends throughout the community, we say thank you to our friend Chip. We wish you good health and happiness!








2019 Fall Newsletter


We are making great progress at our West Grove community. Roads and stormwater management systems are complete and ready for construction to begin. We are now officially accepting families into the program, and are very excited about providing 40 families with the opportunity for homeownership in a newly constructed home. We have been able to provide these opportunities thanks to our partnership with the USDA which offers low-interest mortgages for families who qualify. Families of one to four members must earn between $43,700
and $69,900, and families from five to eight members must earn between $57,000 and $92,250.

Habitat will bring to bear all of its resources, volunteers and generous contributions from the community, along with USDA’s extremely low-interest rates, to make these homes affordable to families who want to invest in their future. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for a home, be sure to visit www.hfhcc.org/westgrovesite to download and complete the application. If you have any questions while completing the application, our Director of Family Services, Bobette Meeter can be reached by email at bobette@hfhcc.org or by phone at 610-384-7993, extension 14.


We welcomed three new families to the Cambria Terrace neighborhood in July. Courtney, Rachel, and Daniel & Dawn moved in after a long process of finance classes and “sweat equity,” helping to build the houses they now call home. Your generous support—prayers, volunteer time and financial gifts—made it possible for these three hard-working families to achieve their dreams. On their behalf, please accept our sincere appreciation!



After a rain postponement, we were thankful for such a beautiful day at the 16th annual Driving to Build Golf Outing on July 15th. 87 golfers joined us on the greens of French Creek Golf Club for some friendly competition. With added longest drive, straightest drive, closest to the pin and chipping contests, we kept participants on their “A” game. Thanks to sponsors, donors, and players, Habitat was able to raise $32,000 that will support our mission of building decent, affordable housing in Chester County. An enormous thank you to all that came out to make such a successful event and a wonderful day!

Bentley Systems Inc. | The Bilotta Family | Ted Peters, Bluestone Financial
Institutions Fund | The Bourbon Trailblazers | Brandywine Valley Heating
and Air Conditioning | Martin J. Cappelletti Custom Builders Inc.
Communications Test Design, Inc. | Fox Rothschild LLP | Rick & Robin
Gasloli | Gary & Kitty Knox | MacElree Harvey, Ltd. | Phillips Mushroom
Farms | PJM Interconnection | Rainer & Company | T.O. Epps & Associates
Viwinco, Inc. | WSFS Bank | The Law Office of Jack Wuerstle



Thanks to the generous support from the Chester County faith community and Thrivent Financial, a hard-working family will soon be able to call this house, home. We are very close to meeting Thrivent’s dollar for dollar match challenge but still need the prayers, volunteers and donations from local churches. Westminster Presbyterian, St. Paul’s Lutheran, Calvary Lutheran and First Presbyterian Church of West Chester have all signed on as Thrivent partners. If you belong to any of these churches, please consider donating to help us meet our challenge. If your church is not yet a partner, contact us and we are happy to meet to provide information about this mission and outreach opportunity. Thrivent is not-for-profit insurance and financial organization serving the Christian community. More information on the services Thrivent offers can be found at www.thriventfinancial.com.


Habitat for Humanity of Chester County is pleased to announce that Joey Ann Fowkes has been appointed Chief Advancement Officer. Fowkes brings a wealth of nonprofit experience in the management of development programs, charitable gift planning, and major donor relations. Most recently, she was Director of Charitable Estate Planning for the American Heart Association (AHA) for a five-state region including Pennsylvania. There, she served as the organization’s expert in planned giving, helping donors to make significant charitable gifts that ensure a meaningful personal legacy.

“We are thrilled to welcome Joey to our team at this pivotal and exciting point in our history,” says Andrew Signore,
President, Board of Trustees. “Her experience, enthusiasm and mission-focus will be a great asset as we celebrate 30 years of service to our community and move forward to have an even greater impact in the coming years.” Fowkes will work with Board members, philanthropic and community leaders, donors, volunteers, and friends to secure the funds needed to increase the organization’s impact on the growing need for affordable housing in Chester County.

Fowkes is an alum of Alaska Pacific University where she graduated Summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Organizational Management. Professionally active, her membership activities include Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Greater Philadelphia; Financial Service Providers (FSP); Chester County Estate Planning Council; and Montgomery County and Philadelphia Estate Planning Councils (PEPC) where she also served as Committee CoChair for The Women’s Initiative.


  1. The ReStore Helps Families: The money raised by the ReStore helps families build a decent and affordable place to call home. When the items you donate to the ReStore are sold, the profits help families achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better future.
  2. The ReStore Helps the Environment: The ReStore diverts hundreds of tons from landfills each year, accepting hard-to-dispose-of items including new and used furniture, appliances and surplus building materials. In many cases, free pickup service is provided for large items.
  3. The ReStore Provides Low-Cost Home Solutions: The ReStore is a unique blend of part home improvement store, part home goods store, and part resale store. Each ReStore has a wide selection that changes often. You benefit because you get fantastic new and gently used items below retail prices.


Dan Allard joined the Habitat construction team in 2014 after volunteering on the site. The team quickly saw that his patience, great skill and attention to detail would make him a perfect fit for a leadership position. We can’t thank Dan enough for all the time and hard work he put into building with us over the years. We will miss his quiet but always friendly face and wish him the best of luck on his new adventure!

Milby Thorington is one of the newest members of the Habitat team as a Construction Lead. Milby attended Northeastern University graduating in 2019. He started his career in fraud management and risk analysis, but changed direction to construction in 2011 and joined Habitat in July of this year. We are excited to have Milby on board as we start building at the West Grove construction site!

Jim Marshall is another great addition to the construction site, also joining Habitat in July. Jim retired in 2015 after teaching chemistry and coaching various sports for 33 years. He grew up working on construction sites with his father and retained that passion throughout his career. After retirement, Jim led construction projects with disaster relief teams and Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys. We are thrilled to have Jim bring his experience to the Coatesville site!


3rd Annual Building A Thirst Brewery Ticket Book Fundraiser

We are excited to have 11 Chester County breweries sign on for our 3rd annual Building a Thirst fundraiser! We will be out and about selling brewery ticket books this fall and winter, each containing tickets redeemable for a free beer at each brewery. Tickets are valid from January 1, 2020, until September 7, 2020. These books will be available during designated happy hours at each brewery leading up to the holiday season, making great gifts for the craft beer lover in your life!

Current Happy Hour Dates:

In addition to these happy hours, beer ticket books will also be available at our ReStore location from December 12th to the 21st! The Restore is open from 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday, giving you extra time to stop in and purchase a book while seeing what’s new at the store. The store is located at 1853 E. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville, PA 19320. Click here to RSVP to the Facebook event and receive updates!

Want to be the first to know when we add another happy hour? Click here to sign up for our Building a Thirst Newsletter for updates and happy hour dates! For any additional questions, please email us at info@hfhcc.org or call 610-384-7993 ext. 19.

Special thanks to these 3rd year participating breweries:


And a warm welcome to this year’s additions!


Build a House…Build a Dream Contest 2020

Calling all fifth-grade builders, artists, architects, and engineers! Along with presenting sponsor Fox & Roach and Trident Charities, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County is excited to announce the 17th annual Build a House…Build a Dream! contest for kids being held on March 21, 2020!

In this competition, fifth-grade students in the Delaware Valley work individually or in pairs to build their own three-dimensional, model dream homes. Students deliver their models to the Church Farm School in Exton for display and judging. Participants may drop off their models Friday March 20th between 5:00pm and 7:00pm or the morning of the contest between 8:30am and 9:00am. Students will need to be standing with their dream homes at 9:15am for our panel of judges to speak with them about their inspiration and process. There will be three rounds of judging with contestants being dismissed after each round. The top three dream homes will be announced during our awards ceremony with the top three prizes awarded to the winners. While our panel of volunteers, Habitat board members and architects in the community judge the dream homes, we will have raffles, snacks and activities for the students and their families to keep the fun going! The event ends at approximately 12:00pm after all prizes have been handed out.

More information on getting registered, contest rules and the event location can be found below!

Contest Rules

Though there are few rules to the contest, please be sure to keep the following rules in mind when building your model dream home:

  • Models must be three-dimensional and fit on a base no larger than 2ft x 3ft.
  • Students must prepare one written description of about 100 words or less explaining why this is their idea of a dream house and highlighting any interesting features. This paragraph will be displayed with their homes.
  • Electrical outlets will not be available.
  • The use of liquids (water, slime, etc.) is not permitted, as we want to preserve the cleanliness of our contest venue!
  • Students must be prepared to discuss their entry with contest judges.
  • Model homes will be judged on the following criteria:
    • Originality and creativity
    • Use of materials
    • Appearance and design
    • Independent effort (This is a contest for kids, not their parents!)

This free contest is open to fifth grade students in public, private, and parochial, charter, and home schools throughout the Philadelphia area. Students may participate in this event individually or with a partner. If you are registering with a building partner, you only need to submit one form, but must provide an email address and parent/guardian contact of the building partner.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What exactly is this contest?
    It may be easiest to think of the contest like a science fair, except instead of making a science project, students build a model home. Contestants spend time before the contest building their three-dimensional model dream home and then present it on the day of the contest along with a written paragraph as to why this is their dream home. Judges will evaluate each entry based upon originality and creativity, use of materials, appearance and design, and independent effort.
  • Who can participate in this contest?
    Any fifth-grader in public, private, charter, parochial, or homeschool (or any other type of schooling we missed) can participate!
  • Can I work in a group of three or more?
    Sorry, but you may only work individually or with one partner. We want to ensure that each team member has contributed and been fully engaged in the project, which becomes difficult with a larger group. We can also only fit so many people behind a table the day of the contest!
  • Are there any restrictions or requirements on what I can use to build my house?
    Your house must be three-dimensional and fit on a base no larger than 2ft x 3ft and are not permitted to use liquids during the presentation of your house (we want to keep the venue floors clean!). Please also know that electrical outlets will not be made available.
  • Do I need to be present for the contest?
    Yes, the contestant that builds the house must be there to present their model to the judges. If working in a pair and one contestant is unable to make it, you may present the home with only one contestant present.
  • Can I drop my child off at the contest and pick them up later?
    All children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the contest.
  • Can I bring my other children to this event?
    Absolutely! Even though the contest itself is only open to fifth graders, the whole family can attend. While contestants receive raffle tickets, a light snack, and are eligible for prizes, there will be food for purchase and activities for the rest of the family!
  • Can my business be part of the sponsorship for Build a House?
    Absolutely! Click here to view our sponsorship opportunities.

Volunteer for the Event
Build a House…Build a Dream would not be a successful event without the help of an amazing group of volunteers! Below is a list of volunteer opportunities available. To sign up, please complete the information below and return to Latifa Raheem, Outreach Coordinator, via mail or email by March 1. You will receive a confirmation when your form is received. Questions? Call 610-384-7993, ext. 15. Volunteers must be 15 years of age or older.

Fields marked with an * are required
Location and Helpful Links


Church Farm School logo


The contest will take place in the Pavilion located on Church Farm School’s campus on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Church Farm School (CFS) is located at 1001 Lincoln Highway, Exton.

Church Farm School is a day and boarding college preparatory school for boys in grades 9-12 offering a competitive, affordable and personalized education in Chester County, PA. Learn more about Church Farm School at www.gocfs.net.

  • Curriculum Guide for Teachers
    There are many ways for teachers to incorporate Build a House into their curriculum. This helpful sheet offers some tips for integrating the contest into your lesson plans for a variety of different subjects.
  • Event Description
    See this document for complete contest details and guidelines.
  • Contest Flyer
    Help us spread the word! Bring this flyer into your school or show it to your favorite fifth grader!
  • Habitat Videos
    Can’t quite find the words to explain Habitat’s mission to children? You’ll find plenty of videos on Habitat International’s YouTube channel, but this short video featuring a Habitat homeowner’s charismatic child is our favorite!
  • Quick Clip of Last Year
    Check out Bill Henley talking about the contestants from last year’s contest.