Habitat for Humanity spreading its wings

Andrea Rose and Shawn Hardy

Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County is providing housing and hope — one home at a time across the county.

"Our vision is to provide decent, affordable housing," Habitat Executive Director Tom Reardon explained last week during a presentation to Franklin County commissioners. "We believe housing is one way we can break the cycle of poverty."

Although Habitat is based in Chambersburg, one of Reardon's focuses is to provide opportunities throughout Franklin County, including the Greencastle area.

"We are looking for property in Greencastle," he said. "We have a family that has entered into our program that wants to live in Greencastle and we hope to break ground there within the next year and a half to two years.

"We're growing," Reardon told the commissioners. "We're looking to potentially serve three families this year and possibly even more next year. We are spreading our wings, hoping to serve more families."

About Habitat for Humanity 

Habitat's Franklin County chapter was founded in 1994 to provide affordable housing to low-income county residents through a combination of new construction, renovations and home repair.

To date, the local Habitat has provided 42 homes and is working on its 43rd.

Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers, dedicating a minimum of 250 "sweat equity" hours.

Habitat homes are built primarily through donations from individuals and businesses who donate their time, talent and materials, as well as financial support.

Reardon said the average size of a home is 1,100 to 1,400 square feet and the homes average about $130,000.

Habitat home recipients are granted no-profit, low-interest loans with affordable monthly payments and are educated on financial literacy as well as how to be responsible homeowners.

"We work hard to make sure we have a good fit," Reardon said. "We want to set them up for success."

Habitat homes typically receive some funding from the county.

"Housing is an issue countywide," acknowledged Commissioner David Keller. "We will continue to support Habitat. We know the money will be well-spent and the quality speaks for itself."

This year's Habitat homes are in the Chambersburg area, but the next round will begin with ground-breaking potentially this fall on Ritchey Road near Fayetteville.

Reardon hopes to break ground on Dickinson Avenue in Waynesboro in spring 2019 and is working with church partners to provide funding and manpower for the Waynesboro home.