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New habitat for Habitat for Humanity

July 19, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- For more than a month, Habitat for Humanity of Washington County employees have been enjoying its new offices at 100 Charles St.

"It's not so much that we have more space but we have better designed space," said Kathy Powderly, director of development for Habitat.

Since the agency began its work in Washington County in 1994, it has been using donated space at The Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, which was involved in the beginnings of Habitat 15 years ago.

"The church was great about letting us grow into the space they gave us," Powderly said. She added that the five large rooms and a common open space are now available for other groups. A call to 301-739-6337 would provide more details.

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There is more convenient parking at the new Habitat office location even though it is on-street parking as before at the Washington Street church, Powderly said.

"At least now we don't have to worry about street sweeping schedules anymore," she said.

The new site -- best known as the old Coca-Cola building at the end of Jonathan Street -- is also home to Habitat's ReStore which accepts donations of new or used building materials, furniture and appliances, and resells them to the public at a substantially reduced cost. The store opened June 7.

At the grand opening, ReStore Manager Ken Welch said the Charles Street ReStore is one of abut 600 such outlets in the world managed by Habitat for Humanity.

Welch said one of the goals of the ReStore project is to provide affordable home improvement materials. In addition, Habitat hopes people will donate to the store, thereby reducing the number of used items going to the landfill.

Sherry Brown Cooper, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, said the agency has built 31 homes since the local chapter was started in 1994.

"We're digging the foundation for number 32," she said.

Habitat for Humanity takes on volunteers who donate their time to help build homes for people with limited incomes.

Families must meet certain income requirements to be eligible for a home.

A family of four, for example, must make at least $26,582 a year but no more than $39,874, she said.

Those interested in helping with construction or home ownership may call 301-791-9009 or send an e-mail to habitatsharon1@verizon.net.

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