Grant sets up ‘big year’ at Habitat for Humanity

From left, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Central Delaware Habitat For Humanity Executive Director Jonathan Gallo; and volunteer Rosalie Collins of Magnolia cut wood during a wall-raising ceremony along South Kirkwood Street in Dover Friday morning. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

From left, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Central Delaware Habitat For Humanity Executive Director Jonathan Gallo; and volunteer Rosalie Collins of Magnolia cut wood during a wall-raising ceremony along South Kirkwood Street in Dover Friday morning. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER –– Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity’s quest to complete eight homes by the end of the year was given a push by a $400,000 grant, awarded just before the new year.

Habitat for Humanity, which provides sustainable housing for those in need, relies on grants for nearly two-third of its funding.

Breanna Thompson and her three children, Jayanna, 9 months, Jamir, 5, and Zaire, 3, attended Friday’s ceremony where Central Delaware Habitat For Humanity raised a wall of their new home on Kirkwood Street in Dover.

Breanna Thompson and her three children, Jayanna, 9 months, Jamir, 5, and Zaire, 3, attended Friday’s ceremony where Central Delaware Habitat For Humanity raised a wall of their new home on Kirkwood Street in Dover.

To qualify for the homes, families must live in substandard housing, earn less than 60 percent of the local median income, contribute 250 sweat equity hours, and purchase the home through a no-interest loan.

“This grant was an important one and definitely broadens our opportunity to reach our goal of eight homes by the end of the year,” said Jonathan Gallo, executive director of Central Delaware Habitat.

The group formally took ownership of the money during a ceremony in downtown Dover Friday morning.

All eight homes will be built or renovated in downtown Dover.

Last year, Habitat built four homes on South Kirkwood Street and this year two more will be added there. Another will be constructed on South Queen Street and five will be on North New Street. The $400,000 grant will cover the construction of half of this year’s homes.

The homes on Kirkwood Street will be the first to be completed and the one on Queen Street will follow with construction beginning by July 1.

“It’s going to be a big year,” Mr. Gallo said.

“What we do wouldn’t be possible without grants. What the community does plays a huge part but we need the larger contributions to keep going. And right now, all our efforts are going toward the Downtown Development District here in Dover.”

09dsn Habitat For Humanity 003The $400,000 grant is from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and earning this particular grant is very competitive, but this is the second time Central Delaware Habitat has earned it.

The last Federal Home Loan grant was $350,000 for the construction of six homes in Frederica.

“For a grant like this, the recipient ends up being determined by just a point or even a fraction of a point,” said Jocelyn Tice, grant administrator for Habitat.

The application for the Federal Home Loan Bank took more than a month to complete but in the end was beneficial not only to earning the grant but to Central Delaware Habitat’s future plans.

“The application requires us to do a lot of research on census tracks, low-income residents and the need for home ownership in our area. So it helps us plan what we will physically need to do and what other grant opportunities may be available to us,” Ms. Tice said.

And the work never ends for the grant writers, the builders and the volunteers. After dedicating three houses in December, Habitat on Friday raised the first wall of its second house in 2016.

The house under construction on Kirkwood Street is going to single mother of three, Breanna Thompson.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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