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Home Dedication

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia Welcomes Home Five New Homeowners to Coltrane Commons

On Thursday, June 13, five first-time homebuyers cut the ribbons and turned the keys to their new homes at Coltrane Commons, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s latest development in Strawberry Mansion. Five more children can now grow and thrive in a safe, stable family home, celebrating birthdays and holidays in a place they can call their own. 

Habitat staff, future and current homeowners, neighborhood residents and community partners came together to celebrate Barbara and Dev’Ron, Angie, Marcia, Adrienne, Danielle and their families as they entered a new chapter of their lives. The new homeowners join five Habitat families who closed on their homes around the corner last year, marking the halfway point of the project’s 21-unit scope. 

Angie Guyton and children, Habitat Homeowner | Photo by Cary Porter

Corinne O’Connell, Habitat Philadelphia CEO, led the dedication ceremony alongside the new homeowners, which also included remarks from Donald E. Moore, Board Chair; State Senator Sharif Street; House Representative Donna Bullock; City Councilmember Jeffrey Young, Jr.; Franklin Sanders, EVP of Westchester Programs, A Chubb Company; Brennan Halvorsen, Build Project Manager; and Lois Napper, Homeowner Services Manager. Brenda Robinson, Human Resources Office Manager, led the Litany of Dedication.  

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia welcomes home five new homeowners to Coltrane Commons. From left: Donald E. Moore, Board Chair; Corinne O’Connell, Habitat Philadelphia CEO; Brenda Robinson, Human Resources Office Manager; Marcia Reese and children, Habitat Homeowner; Adrienne Dolberry, Habitat Homeowner; Sharif Street, State Senator; Donna Bullock, House Representative; Jeffrey Young, Jr., City Councilmember. | Photo by Cary Porter

“These homeowners had a big, audacious ‘one-day’ vision – to own a home,” said O’Connell. “They put in the time, energy and sacrifice necessary to make that vision a reality. We congratulate and celebrate alongside them. Now is ‘day one’ of what is possible next.” 

Lives are truly changed through homeownership. Barbara’s son, Dev’Ron, was confined to a single room in his old home because it was not wheelchair accessible. Now, in his Habitat home he will enjoy first-floor living, with a full bathroom and modified kitchen counters. 

Barbara Lee, Habitat Homeowner; Lois Napper, Homeowner Services Programs Manager | Photo by Katie Margo

“Thank you, Habitat, for all you’ve done to improve my son’s quality of life,” said Barbara. Brennan Halvorsen, Build Project Manager, offered reflections on what was his first major project with Habitat. 

“I’ve worked in construction for many years,” he said, “and this is the project I’m proudest of in my career. There’s a huge team of skilled carpenters and volunteers who have touched every part of these homes. We’re so happy to welcome you all home.” 

New homeowner, Adrienne, has been extremely involved since joining the program, traveling to Harrisburg with Habitat to advocate for more funding for affordable housing and home repair. 

“With Habitat, homeownership is truly affordable,” said new homeowner, Adrienne. “I was in another program where the housing was dilapidated, and interest rates were still high. Thankfully, Habitat welcomed me at just the right time. And look at me now.” 

Habitat Philadelphia staff, partners, current homeowners and family and friends welcome home the five families. | Photo by Cary Porter

Habitat Philadelphia is proud to recognize these new homeowners for their successful completion of the Homeownership Program. Together, they completed more than 50 educational and financial workshops. All five homeowners were supported by housing counselors at Affordable Housing Centers of Pennsylvania (AHCOPA) to secure $10,000 Philly First Grants, and three buyers had IDA match funds through Women’s Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) and the United Way. This led to some families coming to closing with as much as $19,000 in savings and grants. 

The work of affordable housing would not be possible without dedicated partners, and Habitat Philadelphia is grateful for the support of Arkema, Chubb, Fulton Bank, Tester Construction, A Squared Framing, and Prosperity Home Mortgage.  

The Coltrane Commons development was named after American saxophonist and jazz leader, John Coltrane, by consensus from the Strawberry Mansion community. Input from community leaders like Tonnetta Graham, Lenora Jackson-Evans, Tyrone Williams and Lawrence Battle ensured that the voices of long-time residents were heard as the project was designed and developed. 

The five homes completed at 32nd and Oxford Streets brings Habitat Philadelphia’s total number of homes built and sold to 265 since its founding in 1985. Eleven more units are scheduled to be completed and dedicated in Fall 2024. 

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