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Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia Breaks Ground on Four New Homes in West Philadelphia

Four more Philadelphia families – first-time homebuyers seeking the life-changing opportunity of homeownership – will come home to West Philadelphia next year.

On Wednesday, June 5, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia held a public groundbreaking ceremony for its 40th Street Rowhomes project in the Mantua neighborhood of West Philadelphia.

A crowd of about 50 residents, supporters and staff cheered as the first shovels dug into the site at 40th and Reno Streets that will see four affordable homes built and sold to first-time homebuyers. Incoming Habitat Philadelphia Board Chair, Floyd Lebron, CEO Corinne O’Connell, and City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier provided remarks.

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia breaks ground on four new homes in West Philadelphia. From left: Miss Bernice, West Philadelphia resident; Kim Mathis, Habitat homeowner and former Board member; Jamie Gauthier, City Councilmember, 3rd District; Corinne O’Connell, Habitat Philadelphia CEO; Floyd Lebron, incoming Habitat Philadelphia Board Chair; Daryn Edwards, Principal, CICADA Architecture; Carlo Arjona, Senior Project Manager. | Photo by Cary Porter

Every new home built by Habitat Philadelphia means a first-time homebuyer can access the life-changing opportunity of homeownership, creating strength, stability and self-reliance for themselves and their families. Habitat sells new homes with zero-interest mortgages to buyers making between 30-80% of the Area Median Income, creating equity and a foundation for families to thrive.

Corinne O'Connell, Habitat Philadelphia CEO

Corinne O’Connell, Habitat Philadelphia CEO | Photo by Cary Porter

When I meet families in our homeownership program, they inevitably say, ‘This is the first time I’ve heard yes,’ said Corinne O’Connell, CEO. “‘This is the first time I’m going to be able to catch my breath.’ That is what gives us the urgency to build more and do more.”

The 40th Street project continues Habitat Philadelphia’s history of impact in West Philadelphia, where it has built 54 new homes since 1985. Add in 435 repairs, and Habitat has worked alongside more than 850 residents in this part of the city to build safety, strength and self-reliance through homeownership.

Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier

City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier | Photo by Cary Porter

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier expressed her appreciation for the project’s impact on the 3rd District.

“A safe, stable and affordable home is the bedrock of a successful life, healthy communities and a vibrant city,” said Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. “City Council cannot solve the housing crisis in our city alone. We need partners like Habitat for Humanity to serve as our boots on the ground in this work.”

The 40th Street project evolved through several iterations since it was originally developed to align with the Promise Zone Comprehensive Housing Strategy adopted by the City in 2018. Input and collaboration from community organizations like Mt. Vernon Manor CDC, Mantua Civic Association, Smith & Roller and HopePHL ensured any construction proposals reflected the needs of long-term residents in the neighborhood. 

The homes on 40th street will be built by Habitat’s in-house team of carpenters, led by Senior Project Manager, Carlo Arjona, following designs by CICADA Architecture. The four homes will take about a year to complete.
 Floyd Lebron

Floyd Lebron, incoming Habitat Philadelphia Board Chair, with Kim Mathis, Habitat homeowner and former board member. | Photo by Cary Porter

“I look forward to welcoming everyone back here a year from now to dedicate these homes alongside four new Habitat families,” said Floyd Lebron, Risk Manager at DALE Corporation and incoming Chair of Habitat Philadelphia’s board of directors. “Safe, warm and dry – on time and on budget – that’s what Habitat does.”

Each of the four single-family homes include 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, with one unit providing wheelchair accessibility to better serve those seeking to participate in Habitat’s homeownership program. Applications open July 1, and families who have a member with specials needs are encouraged to apply.

Visit habitatphiladelphia.org/homeownership-program to learn more.

See more photos on Flickr