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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Our House, in the Middle of our Street

Sitting atop the Aaron Street hill, in the middle of the street, is what Dionely Hance and her two daughter can now call "our castle and our keep." Nestled among other homes in a quiet neighborhood with South Mountain as a back yard, it offers a spectacular view of the South Side, especially the casino. That home is there thanks to Habitat Lehigh Valley's Women Build program. The home was dedicated on Saturday, just in time for Christmas.

Hance and her two daughters - Eliany, age 6, and Xamaya, age 3 - will move into their first house, in the middle of the street, leaving behind an apartment whose only insulation was the termites. There were no closets in the bedroom, and she was unable to lock the windows at this street level dwelling.

How did this 2009 Freedom High School grad, who has worked since her graduation as a collections agent, pull it off?

Habitat Lehigh Valley's Women Build program managed to raise the $85,000 needed to build the house, Then they built it, Women who want to learn construction skills to build homes and communities and eliminate poverty, one house at a time, did it.

Hance, like all Habitat homeowners, was required to make a down payment and will pay back a no-interest mortgage.  She was also required to put in 250 hours of "sweat equity".

Habitat for Humanity's mission is to provide affordable housing for hardworking low-income families by giving a "hand up" instead of a "hand out."

Habitat Lehigh Valley has built more than 100 homes in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton since 1989 for families in need of simple, decent, affordable housing. For more information, go to www.HabitatLV.org or call 610-776-7737.

At the dedication, Women Build Committee members shared speeches and, more importantly, food. While happy people celebrated and ate, a quiet corner of the house was lit up by a small Christmas tree.

That house is now a home.


Anonymous said...

Bernie - I'll put up the cash, and you can come build a house for me. Bring the Dee-ster with you. He knows how to erect flag poles. I'll provide food and tents. You just need to complete it by spring. Study up on how Washington made it through the winter. It will be a learning experience.

Anonymous said...

May we address the elephant in the room? We have a woman with two children, is there a father? She graduated for high school five years ago but has a six year old daughter and a younger one.

This gesture, while noble does not appear to address the root cause of her problems. Was any counseling given as to her poor life choices have contributed to her situation. Giving someone a house will not solve any of those issues. A home is a big responsibility do we ever get an update a few years after these homes are given away?

Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

where's the father(s)?

This is nothing but enabling the so called poor and awarding bad choices. with her record when will she need a bigger house?

Anonymous said...

This is a great program. What is wrong with you T-Baggers? Jealous that you didn't get another handout or just bitter that people sometimes make mistakes, but can change with a little charity?

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

Great program, in my book. To the naysayers:

"But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what's wrong with that? Why... here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers?.... Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about... they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle."

Anonymous said...

"Concerned Citizen" and others should be "Concerned Judgmental Classist Citizen and Others." This is a really complex topic and I'm not going to address it here, other than to say that if we adopt your view--that this low-income woman made a poor choice to have children (whether or not there is a steady father in the picture) when she can't afford them--then what you are really saying is that poor people will remain childless UNLESS they can support themselves, and their children, w/o government or non-profit assistance. To do otherwise means they make a bad choice b/c they can't afford them. You call it being "responsible." I call it judgmental b/c you don't take into account the root cause of poverty and the difficulties of trying to build a life coming from that system.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ovem, your comment should make these judgmental jerks think twice, but won't.

Anonymous said...

I dont see what the issue is here. Habitat is mostly funded privately through contributions.

The person getting the house has a loan on it, has to work for it. Having a stable home pulls them out of subsidized housing (paid for by the taxpayer) and puts them on the tax rolls (as a homeowner)

And home ownership is one way to generate wealth and the ability to pull people out of the lower classes to the middle classes (again, leading them to get off the tax rolls)

If you are a fiscal conservative, you actually like something like this

Bernie O'Hare said...

It ws just a nasty observation by a nasty person.

Chris Amato said...

Great comment Ovem

Anonymous said...

Yeah quoting a movie is the answer. Not!

Matt M. said...

Thank you for sharing a nice uplifting story, Bernie. There's too much negativity lately.

Bill Coker said...

To paraphrase 3:17 am, another elephant in the room exists. Many minority women with children are hard working people trying to improve their status for themselves and their children. Consequently we have women like this young lady willing to put sweat and money equity into a home for herself and her children. The question is where are the males? They seem to never show up until after the fact and rarely actually contribute either sweat or money with a few exceptions. Until this dynamic changes nothing much else will change either.

Anonymous said...

Dear Concerned Citizen (and your brethren):

I hope you never get picked for jury duty. You'll have your mind made up before you enter the courtroom.

Since you have a discerning ability to picture how other people live, I wonder if you fit this profile:

You're a 56-year-old white man, married with two kids. You're a regular church-goer and feel that you've lived a moral life. You're proud of your parents. Your father got a college education through the GI bill and bought the family house with an FHA loan. That meant a stable childhood for you. And you believe you've taught your children the same fine morals that you have. You can't wait for your 25-year-old son to marry and have kids so he can continue the family name. What you don't know, is that he is gay. Your daughter, without your knowledge, just had an abortion because she is fooling around with a guy who lives across town. For years you've worked hard at your job but your boss doesn't appreciate you. You'd like to quit but won't take the risk of finding a better job. You're drowning in debt because you bought a house and a luxury car that you can't afford, and you've maxed out your credit cards buying power tools and going to sports events. In addition your wife buys too many shoes and too many clothes, and you blame her for the financial straits you're in. Instead of spending for your retirement, you've been buying stuff you don't need. You are jealous of those low-income people who do get a bit of help—even from a nonprofit—so they can make ends meet. As a church-goer you sing the hymns and listen to the sermons. Except the one that says, Judge not lest ye be judged.