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York Pennsylvania, A Model Program for the Fire Service

Pennsylvania's York Habitat for Humanity’s “Fire Safety Build” at East Poplar Street

The fire on the 300 block of East Poplar Street was started by children playing with a lighter in a 3rd floor bedroom and quickly spread down the row of homes. By the beginning of 2010, York Habitat hopes to have funding in place to demolish the (now) condemned homes and replace them with simple, decent, affordable, energy-efficient homes for four deserving families who are actively partnering with Habitat in its unique homeownership program.

The “Fire Safety Build” is truly about transforming lives as well as the East Poplar Street neighborhood.

Regarding construction, York Habitat for Humanity will build four three-story units in the same style as neighboring homes at 351,353,355, and 357 East Poplar Street after tearing down the existing structures and removing all debris. All four replacement units will be FULLY SPRINKLERED.

To be selected, as a Habitat homeowner applicants must first meet the income guidelines of 35-60% of the York County median income and have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 40% including the estimated housing cost if the applicant became a Habitat homeowner. Upon completion, the “applicants” become “candidates” and must work 225 hours per adult on Habitat homes, take first-time home buyer classes, homeownership education classes to aid in the transition from renter to homeowner, financial management courses, and participate in one-on-one partner mentoring. When all requirements have been fulfilled, and the candidate has saved for the small down payment and to meet the HUD requirements for closing assistance, the homeowner has a 30 years zero interest mortgage. Homeowners are then vested in their neighborhoods and become an addition to the counties viable tax base.

The “Fire Safety” build will be conducted in partnership with fire, police, EMS, and other safety-related businesses from across the county. Our goal to begin construction is obtain the required $60,000 to $80,000 needed to build each home. York Habitat will co-sponsor educational events with local fire safety businesses with programs such as a “From the Ashes Home Tour” that highlights the peril of house fires and educates community members of all ages on fire prevention, first aid for burns, and resources in the community to aid in acquiring smoke detectors and other safety demonstrations. Habitat intends to provide opportunities for safety-related businesses and the municipal fire/police/EMS organizations to promote their work and efforts toward saving human lives.

The “Fire Safety” build is just one more demonstration of how York Habitat for Humanity is “Building Better Lives…One House at a Time.” Please consider providing financial support to make this endeavor possible!

Please contact Miles Worden at 717-659-7487 or 717-854-6168 to discuss how you can become a sponsor of this program.

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Comment by Miles Worden on December 28, 2009 at 3:39pm
Thank you so much for posting this for us.
Comment by Brad Hoff on December 28, 2009 at 3:15pm
Thanks for the post Chief.

I grew up not but 20 miles from there! Glad to see my home community and county are working to make a difference. The same will hopefully happen to the FD. York city is said to have the oldest continuously operated fire department in America but there seems to be a bit of turmoil between the ranks and with the politicians. Hopefully they can come to an agreement and do what's best for the citizens when it comes to keeping them safe. Maybe they will learn from this experience!

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