New director at home with Habitat for Humanity

New Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jonathan Gallo stands inside Habitat’s ReStore in Dover, a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more at a lower cost. (Delaware State News photos/Dave Chambers)

New Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jonathan Gallo stands inside Habitat’s ReStore in Dover, a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more at a lower cost. (Delaware State News photos/Dave Chambers)

DOVER – Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity has a new executive director in Harrington native John Gallo.

He replaces Jocelyn Tice, who had been at the helm since March of 2009 and will become a grant writer with CDHFH.

“I’ve worked with New Castle County Habitat for Humanity in the past and I’ve been involved in community service my whole life, so I think it’s a perfectly great fit,” he said.

He is currently a volunteer firefighter and a member of the Lions Club.

In addition to community service and participation, Mr. Gallo has extensive experience in both business and construction, including his last job as chief financial officer of Beracah Homes, Inc., a Greenwood-based construction company, making the transition to CDHFH a natural career progression.

As executive director of CDHFH, Mr. Gallo will work closely with Habitat’s board of directors, which sets goals for the organization through one-, three- and five-year plans.

“We will frequently consult with him to see how we are progressing and if we’re on track in meeting the goals we set in the plan,” said Frank Daniels, treasurer for the CDHFH board.

“Of all the candidates for the job, he seemed the best to lead us into the future.”

The board is constantly setting higher and higher goals, especially with 2015 producing eight homes, more than any other year in Habitat’s 25 years.

Jonathan Gallo, of Harrington, sits in his Webbs Lane office in Dover happy to be taking over the reins as executive director of Central Delaware Habitat For Humanity.

Jonathan Gallo, of Harrington, sits in his Webbs Lane office in Dover happy to be taking over the reins as executive director of Central Delaware Habitat For Humanity.

“Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity has grown immensely over the past six years, I am excited to join the board and staff so that we can work together to continue that trend,” Mr. Gallo said.

Building has been made easier for CDHFH lately not only due to increased community involvement but through Dover’s Downtown Development District initiative and the National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor (NCALL).

Downtown Development Districts are an initiative led by Gov. Jack Markell to spur development in Delaware cities’ downtowns and NCALL works to improve communities and promotes affordable housing for first-time home buyers; both aligning with Habitat’s mission.

“The need for affordable housing in central Delaware is real and together we will work as a team to address that need,” Mr. Gallo said.

“For the next few years, we will probably have a concentrated focus on downtown.”

The affordable homes are built using funds raised through private donations and grants. The average Habitat home uses about 2,000 hours of on-site volunteer work, reducing the cost of construction.

Reduced construction costs in conjunction with a zero-percent mortgage make the homes affordable for first-time home buyers.

First-time home buyers may apply for a Habitat home online at centraldelawarehabitat.org. All applicants must submit financial documentation to determine eligibility for the program and the ability to afford the mortgage.

Although Mr. Gallo will be in charge of following through with the board’s plans when it comes to building houses, he also will manage an important, lesser-known aspect of Habitat for Humanity, the ReStore.

The ReStore sells donated goods at discounted prices at the ReStore, at 544 Webbs Lane in Dover. The items for sale include everything from furniture to power tools and all the proceeds go to Habitat and help pay for building materials and professional services needed for construction of the homes.

“The ReStore is great because people who need furniture for their new houses can buy it at discounted prices and it’s also a green operation because all these donations aren’t being thrown away, someone’s going to put them to good use,” Mr. Gallo said.

CDHFH is always looking for new volunteers and donations for the ReStore. If you’re interested in donating time or goods, visit www.centraldelawarehabitat.org or call (302) 526-2366 or (302) 346-0220.

All ReStore donations are tax-deductible and must be usable, new and used building materials, fixtures, equipment or appliances in working condition.

“Without volunteers and donations, this whole thing wouldn’t happen,” Mr. Gallo said.

CDHFH has four full-time employees and three AmeriCorps workers.

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

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