The Gift of “Home”

Pablo Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” 

As we enter the month of December, which is often referred to as the season of giving and, unfortunately, one of the most stressful times of the year, maybe it’s time we focus on giving a different kind of gift. 

Most of us think of giving our friends and family individual gifts, but Picasso refers to the gift of his talent, which is meant to be shared with others. You may think, “I’m not an artist,” and that’s okay. We all have talents that can be shared to make our communities better. 

At Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, we are grateful for the talents our volunteers share with us every day. From our Board of Advisors, committee members, and event planners to our volunteers working on the job site and in our ReStores. Together, they have donated over 140,000 hours to help us give more than 500 families the gift of a Home. 

Linda Bedolla and her daughterThe families in Habitat’s program work alongside our volunteers to build their homes and the homes of their neighbors. Once they begin paying a mortgage on their new home, part of their mortgage funds the construction of homes for future Habitat homeowners. Therefore giving families the opportunity to give the gift of Homeownership to others. 

Do you remember using the key to open the door to your first home? The pride you felt in owning something you worked hard for? Or how about the excitement you felt thinking about all of the memories you would make and the celebrations to come?

Now think about how you would feel if, despite working hard every day, you realized that you would never be able to own your home – hopeless and defeated because you couldn’t provide a safe, healthy environment for your kids to grow up and thrive. That is precisely how Linda Bedolla felt.

Linda had been dreaming of buying her own home, but she could not find anything in her price range. She and her daughter had no choice but to share a bedroom in her mother’s small, one-bathroom home with five other people. Linda thought she would never have the opportunity to buy a place of her own until a friend told her about Habitat.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and volunteers, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County will build 20 affordable homes in the next year, along with completing various Neighborhood Revitalization and Critical Home Repair projects across Chester County. These new and revived homes create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, attract employers, increase consumer spending and government revenues, and lower the risk of foreclosure, essentially giving the gifts of transformative benefits to families and resiliency in communities. 

This December, consider giving a different kind of gift. Whether volunteering, donating in honor, or in memory of someone to a local shelter or cause close to your heart, let’s all find “our gift and give it away.” Make a donation today.

Giving Tuesday 2022 Fall Front Doors

Giving Tuesday November 29th 2022 Habitat for Humanity chester county hfhcc chescoGiving Tuesday is a national day of inspired generosity and kindness, celebrated this year on November 28th, 2022. This giving season, we want to show our appreciation to you, our generous donors, volunteers, and advocates. In the last year…

  • You have saved 18.4 million pounds of waste from landfills to date by donating to our ReStores.  
  • 401 of you volunteered for a total of 11,961 hours, which has saved Habitat a total of $358,323 in labor.
  • To date, in partnership with our homeowners, you helped us build 170 homes, which has changed the lives of more than 520 people and the communities they live in.

Thank you for your continued support of our mission. Having a comfortable and safe place to call home builds confidence for a brighter future ahead. A front door symbolizes a milestone in life, being able to call yourself a homeowner for the first time ever. Handing our Habitat homeowners the keys to their forever homes is a special moment for everyone. It is heartwarming what we can accomplish together. 

Appreciation From Our Habitat Homeowners

Giving Tuesday November 29th 2022 Habitat for Humanity chester county hfhcc chescoIt is always wonderful to hear our Habitat Homeowners express their gratitude and appreciation. Meet the Weatherby, Soto, Woodward, and Holmes families! 

The Weatherbys moved into our West Grove development in March 2022. 

“Owning our own home has been a game changer in many ways for our family. Everything from having the room that we need as a family of four to knowing we have a safe, clean space that is ours. It brings a sense of pride to know that we have something to call our own. It also brings a feeling of security knowing we live in a community of people who feel the same way,” says Jessica Weatherby.

“As for what we would like to say to the volunteers and everyone involved in making these homes a possibility, we are incredibly thankful and humbled by their time and giving hearts. The work of their hands and the amount they have given to bring all of this to fruition is a wonderful thing”. – Jessica Weatherby

Giving Tuesday November 29th 2022 Habitat for Humanity chester county hfhcc chescoThe Soto family lives in our Cambria Terrace development in Coatesville.

“Our lives had changed from the moment we received the phone call that we have been accepted to the program to the day we were signing papers at settlement and receiving the key for our home. That’s an experience that my husband and I will never forget. We thank God for this wonderful blessing He has given us. My oldest daughter Liz says that she’s still in disbelief every time she comes home and looks at this view we’ve been given. She thinks, oh wow, this is where I live and that’s my house right in the center of our little neighborhood. This is really ours and we never have to move away, we actually get to stay here forever. Having our own home has not only changed my husband and my life forever but, my kid’s life as well”.

“To all our volunteers, donors, to all the wonderful people from Habitat of Humanity that we have met throughout this wonderful journey, thank you!!! Words can’t describe how grateful we are to be blessed with having our forever home. A house is made of walls and beams… A home is made of love and dreams…” – Ivette Soto Mendez

Giving Tuesday November 29th 2022 Habitat for Humanity chester county hfhcc chescoJanet Woodward and her son live in our Cambria Terrace development in Coatesville.

Janet’s story:

“I am a single mother with a seven-year-old son. I was provided with the opportunity to obtain low-income housing the same year I started Nursing school, which was in 2016. I completed Nursing school in 2018 and began to pay market-rate rent in my development. During this time, I began looking at rental properties, but I noticed that most of the nice houses were outside the budget I set for myself. Instead of allowing this experience to discourage me from moving forward, it motivated and inspired me to become a homeowner. I heard about the Habitat Homeowner program years ago from my aunt who currently lives in a Habitat home.”

“I am most looking forward to seeing my son’s reaction when I get the chance to show him ours forever home. I am hoping to make it a surprise! This entire experience will allow me to appreciate the process and hard work that goes into building homes. It is also a gentle reminder of my hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I am forever grateful.” – Janet Woodward

Giving Tuesday November 29th 2022 Habitat for Humanity chester county hfhcc chescoLynette Holmes lives in our Cambria Terrace development in Coatesville.

Lynette’s settlement announcement:

“Lynette is moving into her own safe, affordable home after a long journey of obstacles. She has battled personal health issues, worked full-time, raised three kids, and put in over 200 hours of sweat equity. It was a proud day to hand her the keys to her own home last week.

The amount of determination someone has isn’t a question on a bank loan but it’s a common factor for most Habitat homeowners. Stories of triumph like Lynette’s remind us that these homes are not a hand-out. They’re a hand-up, helping families gain strength, stability, and independence through homeownership.”

Homeownership Is A Beautiful Thing.

Homeownership is a beautiful thing and a basic human right that should be an option for everyone. Our homeowners are dedicated to the Habitat homeownership process, participating in “sweat equity” hours and paying a mortgage that is significantly less than rent prices. You, our generous volunteers, and donors make this entire process possible. Thank you for supporting our mission. 

To donate to our cause this giving season, please visit our website.

Lowes Home Revitalization Grant and ARPA Critical Home Repair Grant

Coatesville Neighborhood Revitalization habitat for humanity of chester county lowes home revitalization grant and ARPA critical home repairHabitat for Humanity of Chester County is proud to announce that we have received funding from the Lowes Neighborhood Revitalization Grant for Home Preservation and the American Rescue Plan Act Grant for Critical Home Repair. These allocated funds are dedicated to our neighborhood revitalization projects in Coatesville, Pennsylvania! At Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, we recognize having a safe and comfortable place to live as a fundamental human right. Our mission is to help our neighbors build strength, stability, and independence through homeownership.

We look forward to progressing on these exciting new projects in Coatesville, Pennsylvania!

Habitat for Humanity of Chester County was awarded $10,500 in funds from the Lowes Home Revitalization Grant for Home Preservation. With this funding, eleven families will receive an exterior “facelift” to their homes on Coates Street in downtown Coatesville. Our team at Habitat has specifically selected this block on Coates Street because we will be constructing more homes here in the near future. The block residents have communicated that they are excited about the construction of Habitat homes on their street. One homeowner states, “It will add value to my home and help to revitalize Coatesville.” 

This neighborhood revitalization project will consist of repairs to broken windows, capping of windows and fascia, replacement of gutters and downspouts, repair of porch railings, replacement of storm doors, repair of fencing, and a fresh coat of paint to the awnings and porches. 

One homeowner stated, “I am looking forward to enjoying my front porch, a place I have never been able to enjoy before.” 

Habitat for Humanity of Chester County was awarded ARPA funds to make critical home repairs on 100 homes in Coatesville. These repairs include modifications that will make the homes safer, drier, and more habitable or allow residents to age in place. These repairs will revitalize the aging housing stock in Coatesville, PA. Our goal is to provide more habitable properties for families and individuals in the area. Through the efforts of this project, we are sustainably increasing the amount of decent, affordable homes in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

A Word From Our Current Coatesville Residents 

On Saturday, October 15, 2022, we held a Homeowner Dedication Event for three of our families in Coatesville. The event welcomed the three families into their new neighborhoods with Habitat for Humanity and was a unique celebration of their new homeownership status!

The Soto Family

Coatesville Neighborhood Revitalization habitat for humanity of chester county lowes home revitalization grant and ARPA critical home repair

The Soto Family

Introducing the Soto family!

Our lives had changed from the moment we received the phone call that we had been accepted to the program to the day we signed papers at settlement and received the key for our home. That’s an experience that my husband and I will never forget. We thank God for this wonderful blessing He has given us. My oldest daughter Liz says she’s still in disbelief every time she comes home and looks at this view we’ve been given. She thinks, oh wow, this is where I live, and that’s my house right in the center of our little neighborhood. This is really ours, and we never have to move away; we actually get to stay here forever. Having our own home has not only changed my husband’s and my life forever but, my kid’s life.

 A house is made of walls and beams. A home is made of love and dreams.” – Ivette 

The Holmes Family

Introducing Lynette Holmes! 

Coatesville Neighborhood Revitalization habitat for humanity of chester county lowes home revitalization grant and ARPA critical home repair

Lynette Holmes and Executive Director Chris Wiseman

Lynette moved into her own safe, affordable home after a long journey of obstacles. She has battled personal health issues, worked full-time, raised three kids, and put in over 200 hours of sweat equity. It was a proud day to hand her the keys to her own home.

The amount of determination someone has isn’t a question on a bank loan, but it’s a common factor for most Habitat homeowners. Stories of triumph like Lynette’s remind us that these homes are not a hand-out. They’re a hand-up, helping families gain strength, stability, and independence through homeownership.

Photo Caption: Lynette Holmes and Executive Director Chris Wiseman 

The Woodward Family

Introducing Janet Woodward!

Coatesville Neighborhood Revitalization habitat for humanity of chester county lowes home revitalization grant and ARPA critical home repair“I am a single mother with a seven-year-old son. We currently live in a two-bedroom apartment in Regency Park Apartments. I was provided with the opportunity to obtain low-income housing the same year I started Nursing school, which was in 2016. I completed Nursing school in 2018 and began to pay market-rate rent in my development. During this time, I began looking at rental properties, but I noticed that most of the nice houses were outside the budget I set for myself. Instead of allowing this experience to discourage me from moving forward, it motivated and inspired me to become a homeowner. I heard about the Habitat Homeowner program years ago from my aunt who currently lives in a Habitat home. I am happy that I can become a homeowner. I look forward to participating in the education requirements so that I am fully prepared to become a homeowner and stay a homeowner. The sweat hours that are required will provide me with the chance to not only build my home but someone else’s home, which is exciting! I am most looking forward to seeing my son’s reaction when I get the chance to show him ours forever home. I am hoping to make it a surprise! This entire experience will allow me to appreciate the process and hard work that goes into building homes. It is also a gentle reminder of my hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I am forever grateful.” 

Coatesville Neighborhood Revitalization habitat for humanity of chester county lowes home revitalization grant and ARPA critical home repair

Janet Woodward and Executive Director Chris Wiseman

Our Mission

It is heartwarming, amazing, and awe-inspiring to see how our program here at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County has such a positive impact on families and livelihoods. For many families, it is the first place they can officially call home. For many children, it is the first time they have their own bedroom. It is a milestone event that significantly impacts all aspects of their everyday lives. 

We are so excited to begin our new revitalization projects in Coatesville, PA, thanks to the grants received from Lowes and ARPA. These projects will undoubtedly impact the lives of current and future residents in the Coatesville area. We can’t wait to share with you the finished revitalization!

To learn more about how to get involved with our mission at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, or apply to be a Habitat homeowner please visit our website

Our Partnership With Help Build Hope

We are excited to announce our partnership with Help Build Hope, Lima United Methodist Church, and Covenant United Methodist Church! Help Build Hope will provide lumber for the walls of our phase 5 homes in West Grove, PA. We are so grateful to have support from local partnerships like Help Build Hope. Together, we can strengthen the community by building affordable and safe homes. To learn more about Help Build Hope, our partnership event, and our mission at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, keep reading!

Help Build Hope

Help Build Hope is a unique program within the parent company CrossRoads Missions. The Help Build Hope program works with organizations like ours to provide walls for affordable housing projects. Their mantra is, “We build frame walls by building partnerships, building relationships, building community, and building homes, bringing the event to your organization’s parking lot.” The walls provided by Help Build Hope allow our organization here at Habitat for Humanity to reduce costs and complete the construction of our Habitat homes quicker for families in need. This unique partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Help Build Hope fosters a loving community by providing first-time homeownership opportunities quickly and efficiently. To learn more about Help Build Hope, please visit www.helpbuildhope.com

Our Partnership

Our partnership with Help Build Hope will contribute to constructing 40 homes at our site in West Grove, PA. The construction of our Habitat homes takes place in phases, and within each phase, a set of 5 homes is constructed. Help Build Hope will provide lumber for the walls of our phase 5 West Grove homes. This event will take place the weekend of September 23rd-25th, 2022. By Friday, September 23rd all lumber materials will be delivered to the Lima United Methodist Church parking lot to prepare for the lumber cut process. On the afternoon of Friday the 23rd, the lumber will be cut, stacked, and marked by volunteers to prepare for the build on Saturday. On Saturday the 24th, volunteers will construct the first floor of five homes in the church parking lot. On Sunday, the 25th, a church service will be held at Lima United Methodist Church to sign and dedicate the walls of these new homes. After worship, the final walls will be loaded onto the Help Build Hope truck and taken to West Grove, PA, where our volunteers will use them to build a set of townhouses for people in our region who need safe and secure housing. Providing and dedicating these walls to new homeowners is a beautiful process made possible by our partnership with Help Build Hope and the valiant efforts of all volunteers involved. We are so thankful for the many people supporting our affordable housing mission. To learn more about becoming a Habitat homeowner, visit https://hfhcc.org/homeownership/

West Grove Construction 

As previously mentioned, the construction of our Habitat homes takes place in phases. The Kitchen cabinets for our phase 3 homes are delivered, and framing for our phase 4 homes is moving right along! Exterior doors and windows have been delivered for our phase 4 homes this month and are ready for installation. The progress of our phase 4 houses in West Grove over the past few months appears here. We are excited to make extensive progress in the next few months on our phase 5 homes, thanks to the support from our partners at Help Build Hope. To learn more about getting involved on the construction site, visit https://hfhcc.org/volunteer/.

Support Our Mission 

We at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County believe every family deserves a comfortable, safe, affordable home. Every volunteer, donor, and supporter makes a difference in the lives of a family in need. To learn more about our mission at Habitat for Humanity and how to get involved with our organization, please visit www.hfhcc.org

Back To School And Homeownership

Back-to-school season is upon us! During this hectic time of shopping for new clothes, school supplies, college dorm rooms, and more, many take for granted having a place to call home at the end of the day when classes have ended. Homeownership plays a significant role in educational success and should not be overlooked. Having a place to call home fosters feelings of security, happiness, and confidence. Though back to school is usually associated with frantic preparation and shopping, this season, we invite you to slow things down and take a moment to reflect upon homeownership’s role in successful education. We want to thank you for supporting our cause so that each child can have a place to call home after school. 

Education Success Rates

Housing does not automatically lead to better educational outcomes, but it does lay the foundation for emotional stability, increased engagement, and motivation to succeed. Impacts associated with homeownership and education success tend to be stronger for low-income households and are specifically crucial to early childhood development and children’s initial success rates in school. Being raised in an encouraging and safe physical environment allows children and parents alike to feel happier and more willing and able to achieve. Not worrying about external living factors increases focus on learning and participating in extracurricular activities. Research shows that children in owner-occupied homes have a 70% greater chance of high school graduation. (IZA World of Labor). 

Habitat Housing Program

Our mission at Habitat for Humanity is to make affordable homeownership opportunities available for everyone, especially low-income families in need. Through our housing program, partnering families are responsible for paying a mortgage for their homes in addition to completing “sweat equity” hours on the construction site. Families that apply to our homeownership program are dedicated to our process and excited for the opportunity to become homeowners. Habitat families who have completed our homeownership program are thankful for a place to call home and proud to provide a home for their children. 

Habitat Homeowners

Welcoming families into their brand new Habitat homes is always a special moment. For many families, it is their first time being a homeowner. Two families currently in our program are the Gleh family and the Wah family! They are both on their way to becoming homeowners at our Cambria Terrace Development in Coatesville, PA. 

Amos Wah, Annie Wah, and their daughter Precious expressed that their living conditions before Habitat were expensive and stressful, as they are a low-income family. “When we got the letter that we were qualified for the homeownership program, we were so happy beyond words,” says Amos. Amos expressed that the education requirements and the sweat equity program benefit his family as first-time homeowners. Amos looks forward to the final moments leading up to his family entering their new home.

Kebeh Gleh is a single mother of two children, Amos and Cheryl Zalzay. Before applying to the Habitat housing program, Kebeh and her children lived in her sister’s home with her husband and children. Three adults and four kids in a two-bedroom apartment had posed many issues with space and sharing common areas. When sleeping, Kebeh and her two children would lay horizontally rather than vertically to fit in the bed. Kebeh was very excited and eager about her application to Habitat and checked in each day regarding her application status.

“It is a beautiful experience and a great opportunity to tell people that we are homeowners. Having our own sleeping place is a feeling that life, hope, joy, peace, self-confidence, and values have been restored. I feel so excited about completing these homeowner requirements, and I am willing to participate to the fullest. My children and I are looking forward to a better and brighter future with the help and support of Habitat to bring our dream to reality.” – Kebeh Gleh.

Support Our Mission

There are many ways to participate in our Habitat for Humanity of Chester County mission. You can get involved directly with Habitat or at our Habitat ReStores. All proceeds from shopping at the ReStores benefit our construction of Habitat homes. We are always looking for construction volunteers, ReStore volunteers, corporate builds, and more! If you want to get involved, there is something for everyone at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, and every donation counts! To learn more about how to get involved, visit our website: hfhcc.org

Source: https://wol.iza.org/articles/does-homeownership-affect-education-outcomes/long