Living Columns & Blogs

Habitat for Humanity helps community members toward goal of home ownership

Habitat for Humanity volunteers help renovate a home.
Habitat for Humanity volunteers help renovate a home. Photo provided

“Mommy, mommy, in our new house, I want a ‘Star Wars’ room,” begged the boy. Mom, turning to me, rolled her eyes slightly and smiled, then said, “Someone is a little excited.” She continued, “His excitement has made me even more excited. And makes all the hard work worth it.”

Dominique, a single mom of an active 6-year-old son, is proud when describing how she’s maintained a regular 40-hour workweek, and then also managed to put in another eight or so hours completing “sweat equity” at the ReStore, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County’s resale shop for new and slightly used building materials and home improvement supplies. Dominique must complete a total of 350 hours of sweat equity as part of Habitat’s program requirements, and she’s well on her way with nearly 100 done.

To abide by other program requirements, Dominique also paid off debt, maintains a savings account and will soon complete financial counseling sessions. It’s all toward the goal of homeownership, which Dominique once thought was out of her reach.

“I always wanted a home for my son and me, but I didn’t think it was possible. I’m from State College and I love this area, but it’s expensive. I didn’t know if I could ever afford to buy anything here,” she explained.

But that’s exactly what Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County provides for income-qualified families — an opportunity for affordable homeownership. Since 1983, the organization has built or renovated homes for more than 60 partner families throughout the Centre region.

In early 2016, after some encouragement from a former co-worker, Dominique contacted Habitat to learn more. She found out that the organization had plans to renovate a townhouse not far from her son’s school. She was given instructions for completing an application and returned with all the necessary documents a few weeks later. Habitat reviewed her information and credit report, interviewed her and her son, verified her income and employment history and ultimately approved Dominque for the organization’s first-time homebuyer program. By the end of the year, she and her son will move into their new home.

Dominique is still undecided if she’ll give in to her son’s request for a “Star Wars”-themed room, but she’s more than certain that this opportunity with Habitat is going to change her life.

“I’m grateful for the program, I’m grateful for the volunteers, and I’m grateful for this chance to prove to myself that I could work hard and make this happen,” she said.

For more information on any of HFHGCC’s programs, visit www.habitat, call 353-2390 or email The organization is accepting applications for its next project, a four-bedroom home in Milesburg.

Jill Redman is the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County. She can be reached at