Habitat for Humanity of Berks County celebrated the first new home dedication of the Buttonwood Gateway Thursday morning in Northwest Reading.
New homeowner Miriam Matias, and her young daughter, were overjoyed to accept the keys to her home on Miltimore Street from Habitat Berks’ Executive Director, Tim Daley.
“I wanted something that was mine, stability, security, and I said I have to do something because I can’t wake up one day and not have a home. That’s why I did it” said Matias. “I came here to Reading when I was 17 years old. And there’s been good moments and bad moments. There’s crime everywhere. It’s about not being a part of it and creating a home where you want to live.”
For Matias, becoming a homeowner is about providing a future for her daughter. “The kitchen, it’s big, super huge. It has an island and has a pretty good backyard. It’s beautiful and they did a great job. It’s joy for me to walk in and a privilege. I feel blessed and I thank God every day.”
As part of the first-time homeowner program, Miriam worked 200 hours of “sweat equity” with Habitat, volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore and completed 40 hours of financial education classes.
“This project has had many special moments and many special people, willing to use their time and their talents to build what we have here today” said Habitat Berks’ Executive Director, Timothy J. Daley.
“Why do we need to do this? Because research tells us housing that is affordable and planned and built within the neighborhood boundaries creates a sense of place and belonging. Children do better in school. People live healthier lives. Families become less dependent on social programs and more independent for their futures, and they can engage in the hustle and bustle of their community as a true member and not just a guest. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to want to live in the City of Reading.”
This is the first of eleven new homes currently in process/planned to be built in the area on properties owned by Habitat Berks. Nine homes on Miltimore Street and two homes on W. Buttonwood Street.
Future plans call for additional new homes to be built in the Buttonwood Gateway area on properties to be acquired by Habitat.