Most people would consider home ownership part of the American Dream. For six people from Hope Enterprises, that dream will come true with the help of Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity and Hope Enterprises forged a relationship last month when they broke ground on a three-acre piece of land, which connects Linn, Mahaffey and Foresman streets in the city, in an effort to construct Houses of Hope, two homes to provide housing for six Hope clients.
Habitat's staff and volunteers as well as Hope's staff and clients are building the homes.
Participating in the groundbreaking for the joint Habitat for Humanity-HOPE Enterprises project were, from left, Mary Shelinski, David Daneker, Todd Fox, Frank Forsha, Andy Gerrity, Geneva Small-Peck, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, Dearl Miller, Chris Berrigan, Heather Nudd, Susan Strasburg, Kelly Whitcraft, Steve Donovan, Junayd Hunafa, Jeff Maust, and Gay Bartlebaugh. The groups forged a relationship last month when they broke ground on a three-acre piece of land to construct Houses of Hope.
"Partnerships help things happen more effectively," said Todd Fox, executive director of Habitat. "(This is the way) it should work - accomplishing a mission together."
Fox said there are more than 600 people working on-site throughout the course of the project.
Included among the people are Hope clients who, while having developmental disabilities, are "totally welcome" and "stand out" in the construction effort, according to Frank Forsha, vice president of programs and services for Hope Enterprises.
Forsha believes the link between the "two social agencies to work together to benefit people" is a worthy cause.
Not only does he believe that it's important for Hope to become involved with Habitat, but he believes that the joining of two organizations, no matter what services they provide, helps work towards a common cause in sharing resources.
"It's a chance to do something innovative," Forsha said. "We're fortunate and grateful to be a part of it. We love being here."
The homes are being built for semi-independent individual Hope clients.
"They're very excited," Forsha said. "It's all they talk about."
The houses will be American Disability Act compliant and architecturally sensitive to match the needs of the individuals, according to Fox. Forsha said staff will check in on the individuals to oversee that everything is running smoothly within the homes.
While Hope and Habitat work together, several other non-profits perform tasks on site, as well.
According to Fox, Step Inc., the Salvation Army and Lycoming Housing Authority are providing their time and effort.
Fox said it's the first in their history that five non-profits have worked together.
"It's a great way to reach out to individuals who would never be able to have the experience of homeownership," Fox said. "We are proud to be a part of this project, and we look forward to future partnerships with agencies in our community."
Fox said he expects completion of the project by spring.
Anyone interested in participating in the construction of the Houses of Hope may call Habitat for Humanity at 322-2515.