Homeowner Gets Keys to New Habitat House

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The keys to a brand new Habitat for Humanity house in Scranton were handed over Friday to the new owners.

It is the first Habitat for Humanity house in Lackawanna County in more than seven years, and officials with the organization hope the house, and its new owner, can help restore the reputation of Habitat.

Faith Coss and her four children are the first family in Lackawanna County to receive a Habitat for Humanity house in Scranton since the Lackawanna County chapter was disbanded more than seven years ago.

Coss said after years of moving from rental to rental, her new house is more than just a house. It's a home, and a neighborhood, where her four children can grow up.

"They can always come back here, memories for a lifetime. It's nice to have someplace to grow up and come back to when you're older," said Coss.

She was handed the keys Friday to her new house on Scranton's south side. Dozens of Habitat for Humanity supporters and the members of an all new Habitat board of directors took the first tour through the house.

Lackawanna County Habitat for Humanity took a seven year hiatus after some public scrutiny. About a decade ago, Habitat was criticized after one of its houses was condemned and the organization was disbanded.

Current Habitat officials said the problems of the past are behind them. and Faith Coss' house is the start of a new chapter.

"Although initially when we approached some of our community and corporate partners there was some hesitation to work with us. It didn't take long to convince them that we are committed to building affordable housing and we were going to do it the right way," said Todd Pousley of Habitat for Humanity of Lackawanna County.

Coss will start moving in furniture this weekend. Another Habitat homeowner, Gladys Braswell, said Habitat is needed in Lackawanna County. She had some advice for Coss and her four children.

"Be grateful. Think about what you have and not what you don't have, because God is good all the time," Braswell said.

The new house on Prospect Avenue is the 29th Habitat for Humanity house built in Lackawanna County. Habitat officials haven't yet announced plans for their next project.