Local Habitat for Humanity celebrates 30th anniversary

Greater Lcoming Habitat for Humanity celebrates anniversary with its 53rd build

As she flags down neighbor Brian Davis while standing on a Williamsport home’s front porch Kelsey Boyles, program director of Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity (GLHFH), asks Davis “You want to volunteer again?” Excited to help his future neighbors, Davis says yes and joins Boyles inside the Scott Street home that has just been built by the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity (GLHFH).

“When they see this, they are going to smile,” Davis said.

‘5,000 volunteer hours’

“We had hundreds of volunteers for the build with over 5,000 volunteer hours,” Boyles said gratefully of people like Davis who helped build a duplex for two future families to like on the 1600 block of Scott Street.

In addition to the individual volunteers, a multitude of groups contributed like church congregations, students from Lycoming College and Pennsylvania College of Technology, bank employees and many, many more.

“We encourage individuals to volunteer with their clubs [or groups] since it is great for team development,” Boyles said.

Ground was broken for the home in 2017 and is just now nearing completion due to challenging weather, including a lot of rain in 2018. The two families will be ready to move in by the beginning of the 2019 school year, Boyles said.

In June, a dedication ceremony was held for the families who will soon call the duplex home.

“When we were holding the dedication ceremony, we could hear the children’s footsteps running room to room,” Boyles said.

All together, five youngsters will move in to the new house.

None of this would have been possible without the volunteers and the businesses who donated to the project.

In addition to all the hours put in by volunteers, the two future families also put in their own man hours, which GLHFH calls “sweat equity.”

“Partner families, Nicole and Ellen, have each put in over 250 hours of sweat equity in the form of construction hours and financial/homeowner education,” Boyles said.

Community collaboration

“It’s so gratifying not only to be a part of the process but also satisfying to see a community come together to provide the funds and volunteer [hours],” Boyles said. Financial support also came from federal and state agencies.

All together, dozens of local businesses donated materials for the build. In addition, the local electrician’s union, IBEW Local 812, donated work hours to install the homes’ electrical wiring while Habitat for Humanity International gifted kitchen cabinets from Ikea and discounted building materials.

As the home nears completion, there is some work still to be done which Davis is ready to tackle.

“When you volunteer, you aren’t just helping the community, you are also helping yourself,” he said.

Home ownership

The educational component of the build insured that the families would gain a foundation for financial stability. They are mentored on budgeting and the complexities of home ownership.

“Owning a home is a life changing process. We don’t just build a home alongside them. They are building a sense of self and capability,” Boyles said.

Each side of the home has 1,680 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The first floors are open concept design with large kitchens that flow into even larger living rooms.

In the kitchen, there are stainless steel stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators along with washers and dryers. The white farmhouse sinks add a rustic touch that is echoed in the wood laminate flooring.

On the second floor there are roomy bedrooms with contemporary bathrooms that have sleek finishes. In addition, the same wood laminate flooring on the first floor continues on the second level.

As GLFHF completes the duplex, this will mark their 53rd build and their 30th anniversary serving the area. Boyle said that none of the non-profit’s success would be possible without support.

“It takes a community to build a house. The more volunteers we have, the more houses we can build,” she added.

Onto build 54

As the GLHFH puts the finishing touches on the Scott Street duplex, they are already planning the next build which will be in the Newberry section of Williamsport on Diamond Street. Boyles said.

“If anyone is interested in home ownership, or knows someone who would be interested, applications are now available,” Boyles said. Applications can be picked up at GLHFH’s offices, 335 Rose St., or found online at lycominghabitat.org.

As Boyles and GLHFH near their 54th build, they see these homes as more than just walls with a roof.

“It’s a safe place for families to grow,” Boyles said.