Habitat for Humanity awaits code’s go-ahead for new home

Another home-building project by Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity got its symbolic start on Thursday – though not even a shovelful of dirt was overturned at the groundbreaking.

Habitat is still waiting on city codes approval to begin building its newest home at 607 Diamond Street, in Newberry, for Dianthia Booth and her five-year-old daughter Ianna.

Without that approval, digging a foundation can’t start.

“We were hoping to start digging the hole on Monday,” Habitat board president Earl Kinter said. “If we don’t break ground next week we’re probably going to have to wait till spring.”

Once the project does get underway, the walls, made of “structural insulated panels” that also serve as the frame, will spring up quickly. The hope is to get the three-bedroom, two-story, 40-by-20-foot home under roof before winter so work can go on in the colder months.

However long the build takes, Booth was excited to learn about the plans for her home from the Habitat volunteers who knew the plans.

“I’m so excited, I still don’t believe this is all happening right now,” Booth said. “I’ll probably live in the house two years and still not believe it.”

Booth saved enough money to make a down payment on the house through the Assets For Independence program sponsored by the Salvation Army’s Project Break Through.

“For every dollar you put in the AFI account, a nonprofit or business puts in two,” Booth said. “You can use it for higher education, to start your own business, and home ownership. I tried the other two first, then decided to use the money for a new home.”

Ianna is already making big plans for her new home, Booth said.

“She told me ‘Mom, I don’t care what kind it is, but can I have a blue house and a blue room?'”

The requests didn’t stop there: Ianna’s looking at installing a swimming pool, and instructed that a large tree in the backyard not be cut down so a treehouse could later be added.

Booth herself likes to cook, and she’s looking forward to a nice kitchen, and a nice-sized bathroom: “That’s my therapy room.”

Most importantly, owning a house will give her a “sense of security.”

“Rental properties have almost tripled, I’d say, since the gas thing started. With home ownership, I don’t have to worry about that – it’s mine.”