Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity recently announced that it will begin renovating three fire damaged homes on Cumberland Street in Lebanon by the end of the summer.
The project—which is the largest in the organization’s history, according to the press release—was announced during a public breakfast held at Lebanon Valley College’s Mund College Center on June 20. There, executive director Andrew Szalay shared project details with those in attendance, including City of Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello, County Commissioners Robert Phillips and William Ames, Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Karen Groh, and Lebanon Business Improvement District Manager Amy Kopecky.
According to the release, the goal of the project is to “restore the properties to their original single-family footprint while preserving their historic façade and charm.”
The homes to be renovated include 422, 424, and 428 Cumberland Street. All three suffered extensive damage as a result of a fire in 2016 and were purchased by Habitat for Humanity this winter. Szalay provided some brief explanation regarding the organization’s rationale for undertaking the build.
“The 400 block of [Cumberland Street] is the gateway to Lebanon’s business district and, as such, should be a vibrant piece of the downtown area,” Szalay said. He continued by saying that, “together with the community, [Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity] has the opportunity to transform these blighted properties into decent, safe homes for local families to grow and thrive in Lebanon. And we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
The press release also stated that fundraising for the project has been bolstered significantly by a $200,000 grant from the Lebanon County Affordable Housing Trust fund. To date, the organization has raised almost half of its fundraising goal of $569,000.
The homes will be purchased by three local families participating in Habitat for Humanity’s first-time homebuyers program, meaning they will be required to contribute between 250 and 400 hours of “sweat equity,” which can include working on one of the houses and taking financial literacy courses, among other things.