BEAVER FALLS, PA - “All you need are people with willing spirits and ready hands. God’s provision will take care of the rest.”
So says Dr. John White, president emeritus of Geneva College and spokesman for the Beaver Falls Housing Coalition. He admits that he is ecstatic over the program to build new houses in downtown Beaver Falls for people with modest incomes who currently do not own homes. “We are thankful for the wonderful cooperation of the City of Beaver Falls, Mayor Karl Boak, City Manager Richard James and City Council,” said White.
Many of the provisions for this project have already been supplied through a coalition of generous companies and organizations. Under the direction of Hosanna Industries, Inc. of New Sewickley, Pa., a “Blitz Build” to build the first house will begin Tuesday, July 31, 2007 and continue through Saturday, August 4 on Second Avenue between 18th and 19th Street in downtown Beaver Falls.
Tiger Pause, a local mentoring and tutoring program, and faith-based Hosanna Industries, Inc. have teamed up in a special program to help local families who would not normally be able to own a home by having one that comes with a substantially reduced mortgage. The uniqueness of this project is that Tiger Pause and Hosanna Industries have found families of low income but good credit scores and connected them with Sky Bank to determine a mortgage payment they can manage.
The first new house will be built on property turned over to Tiger Pause by BIG (Beaver Initiative for Growth) and the City of Beaver Falls. BIG also paid for and facilitated the clearing of the property, where additional homes will be built later. Hundreds of workers and volunteers will descend on the land and one house will be built in less than five days. An additional three houses may be built by November.
In addition to Tiger Pause and Hosanna Industries, partners in this effort include: City of Beaver Falls, Geneva College, Community College of Beaver County, Goedeker Foundation, McDanel Advanced Ceramic Technologies, State Representative Jim Marshall and local businesses Turbo Technologies, Inc. and Widmer Engineering. Geneva alumnus Dan Sell of Widmer Engineering will lead the engineering details. Turbo Technologies will provide the grass seeding for the project.
This housing coalition was birthed by Del Goedeker, the Chairman of the Board of Managers of McDanel Advanced Ceramic Technologies and founder of the Goedeker Foundation. Goedeker has had a long commitment to helping Beaver County’s young people discover their gifts and enable them to develop in learning and education.
“We want this to be seen as more than just building homes,” Goedeker said. “This project is also about revitalizing the community and giving young people an opportunity to be part of something that makes a difference for generations to come.”
Geneva College is committing resources to this project of restoration by providing full-time employees their regular daily salary when they volunteer their services July 31. Local churches are also rolling up their sleeves and getting involved by offering volunteers.
But this is only the beginning. If all goes well, the City of Beaver Falls has other city-owned properties it would willingly turn over for the neighborhood restoration effort. “Lord willing, we will be in this for the long haul,” says White, reflecting on all that has happened thus far.Additional help is needed and always appreciated. Volunteers should contact Amy Firek of Hosanna Industries, Inc. at 724-770-0262.
Geneva College’s Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM) in Pittsburgh educates urban students for effective service in their local communities.