This year marks Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh’s 30th anniversary! Over the past 30 years, we have had the pleasure of working with countless volunteers and community partners in providing affordable homes and repairs to over 130 local partner families. For each month of 2016, we’ll be featuring a different partner family.
Feature: The Skelley Family
Terry Skelley tells the story of her prospective volunteer family that quickly turned into a Habitat family.
"Sometime back in the 1980's my husband, Hank, and I were looking for volunteer work that would allow all of us to help. We wanted to include our three children, who were school age then. We saw an article in the newspaper (then the Pittsburgh Press) about Habitat for Humanity, and were thinking about signing up.
Little did we know that within a year, Hank would become unemployed. We prospective volunteers now became those in need! We applied to become a Habitat Family, and were approved. As Hank continued to look for a job, we did our sweat equity hours, and at one time held the Pittsburgh record for putting in the hours at the quickest rate. Hank met some wonderful and committed volunteers, and learned many things about maintaining a home. We completed our sweat equity hours just as he found a new job.
Finding the right house took some time, but in 1996 we moved into our dream home, thanks to Habitat. Several months later, we opened our home for a weekend-long house party to thank all who helped in any way to make our dream of homeownership come true. We must have had over a hundred people here that weekend! The festivities ended with a combined Habitat welcoming ceremony and house blessing.
I firmly believe that, had we not had this gift and opportunity, we would still be renting, and at the mercy of landlords. In fact, we had been in danger of losing our rental house, due to the constantly rising costs. The Habitat house has been a source of stability as our children have grown into adults, and as Hank and I have confronted some very serious health problems. We are eternally thankful for the opportunity and the gift."