Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County gives mother, son a safe place to call home

June 24, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Lydia Kovach and her son, Josiah, 11, accept the key to their new home Sunday from Ron Burge, right, a board member of Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County. Burge is building committee chairman and project supervisor for the home at 522 S. Main St. in Chambersburg, Pa.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Only painter’s tape and carpet ready for shampooing prevent Lydia Kovach from calling her new house a home.

On Sunday, Kovach ceremonially received the keys to 522 S. Main St., a house in the Borough of Chambersburg that was rehabilitated by Habitat for Humanity. Organization officials and Franklin County, Pa., dignitaries crowded into what will be her living room.

Kovach’s house is the 29th completed by Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County.

“Without everybody pulling together, these things wouldn’t happen,” said David Spang, president of the local board of directors.

Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County Director Mark Story described how homeowners provide “sweat equity” when renovating or building a house with volunteers. Habitat for Humanity sells homes to partner families at cost and offers a home loan with zero percent interest.

Story said he literally saw Kovach sweat as she worked last Thursday on an especially hot day.

Kovach, a Chambersburg native, started researching Habitat for Humanity when looking to accomplish one of her major life goals.

“I always wanted to give my son a place that was safe and clean, and that we owned,” Kovach said.

Now, her 11-year-old son, Josiah, has a backyard and a bedroom his mother suspects will be decorated in a sports theme. She hopes the Habitat for Humanity experience teaches him that good things come from hard work.

Kovach said she encountered a lot of great people after work started in the house in December 2011.

“I was just happy to see so many people come out that I hadn’t met before,” she said.

Story said the organization was working on a neighboring property when 522 S. Main St. entered foreclosure. He described the house as blighted.

“We purchased it because we loved the idea of two Habitat homes side by side,” he said. “There will be a few more weeks of volunteer labor.”

Keith Bowers, pastor at Solid Rock Community Church in Chambersburg, told Kovach he knows she will look back at Sunday’s ceremony as a special day in her life. His family received the first Habitat house in Franklin County 18 years ago.

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