Habitat for Humanity of Chester County hosted members of the community last Saturday in Coatesville for a dedication celebration that had been anticipated for quite some time.

Throughout the pandemic, three single mothers helped build homes that signified a brighter future for their children. Now, Jen Pursell, Veronica Ortiz, and Sheryl Carter are officially homeowners.

Ortiz and Carter settled on their homes back in December after patiently seeing what the COVID-19 crisis meant for construction deadlines. Pursell settled on her home this month, and with restrictions being lifted, HfHCC was finally able to celebrate the hard work of these women.

Michael Cappelletti, HfHCC’s Board President, led the event and invited Pastor Dan Krewson of Calvary Lutheran Church in West Chester and Patrick Bokovitz, Director of Chester County’s Department of Community Development, to share a few words. Representatives from companies that partnered financially with Habitat to complete these homes were also invited to speak.

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Carolyn Wilt and Terri Seamen of Thrivent Financial spoke of their pride in partnering with HfHCC and congratulated the homeowners on their achievements. Vernita Dorsey also congratulated homeowners as the representative from WSFS Bank, which has partnered with the nonprofit for more than five years.

Stephen Briggs of Wells Fargo presented HfHCC with a check for $20,000 to go toward continuing to build strong foundations in the Coatesville area. Also, Mike Smith from The GIANT Company made a lasting impression when he presented the new homeowners with bags of pantry staples, free delivery of their groceries for a year, and $3,500 for food shopping.

“I’m local; I’ve been at the Thorndale GIANT for 20 some years and recognize some of the faces here,” Smith said. “You’re my friends and my neighbors, and I’m honored to be here today.”

Other local dignitaries included Coatesville City Council President Linda Lavender-Norris, as well as Coatesville City Councilman Donald Folks. Charles “Chip” Houston, who served as HfHCC’s Executive Director for 17 years and is now Coatesville’s Assistant City Manager, was also in attendance. Former Board Presidents Michael Leader and Andy Signore also came out to show their support.

It was more than the completion of three houses that made the day special; it was what having a home means for the families and the building of community.

Habitat homes are not free, and in addition to an affordable monthly mortgage, each homeowner completed at least 200 hours of “sweat equity” in helping to build their home. These houses were also built completely by volunteers in the community. Dedicated individuals continued to come out to the construction site through the pandemic to help raise walls … and hope. Despite the restrictions, they always followed guidelines to help keep construction moving forward.

HfHCC is currently accepting applications for homes in the same Coatesville development. The application and qualifications can all be found online.