Pa. family enjoys the space at Habitat 'mansion'

October 09, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Austin Seville, 10, holds the keys to his family's new home while his parents, Jason and Amy Seville, talk with guests.
By Jennifer Fitch/Staff Writer

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Amy Seville says her children were so familiar with living in a cramped, in-town apartment, they seem to forget they can play in a yard now.

The four children ride their bicycles in the garage until their parents urge them to go outside and explore the property secured with assistance from Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s like a mansion to us,” Jason Seville said of the three-bedroom home.

Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County, Pa., obtained the Punch Bowl Road house when it was listed as a foreclosure. The Sevilles and volunteers tackled renovations, including new windows, roofing, plumbing, paint and countertops.

“We looked for raw land for the family, but we were stymied because of the cost,” said Mark Story, executive director of the nonprofit organization’s Franklin County affiliate.

When the economy began to worsen, Habitat for Humanity found itself often renovating homes rather than building them, Story said.

“Right now, with the number of homes for sale, we’re able to buy a blighted property and rehab it,” he said.

Habitat for Humanity sells homes to partner families at cost and offers a home loan with zero percent interest, Story said.

“Our vision is to eliminate poverty housing in Franklin County,” he said.

Jason Seville said his mother knew someone who was involved with Habitat for Humanity and suggested he fill out an application, which focuses on financial and housing needs.

“We don’t usually like to ask for help. It took a lot” of consideration, he said.

The application process involved meetings with board members. Several months later, the property was identified and volunteers signed up for renovations.

“It surprised me there are still a lot of nice people out there. I told them I’m willing to help at future projects,” said Jason Seville, who works in Shippensburg, Pa., in the warehousing industry.

The Sevilles were praised by Habitat for Humanity officials Sunday for their efforts in the home’s rehabilitation. The couple, who was married 10 years ago, ceremoniously accepted the keys during a reception in the living room.

“For Habitat, a home is our commitment. We don’t have clients and we don’t have customers, we have partners,” said Duane Bock, a board member.

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