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Habitat for Humanity

October 29, 2017 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, Basom, Alabama, news.


Jenn Boyki will move into her new home on Bloomingdale Road in Basom with a new sense of opportunity and freedom thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers started working on the house, built in 1900, before a potential Habitat owner had been identified, so by the time Boyki applied and was approved, there wasn't much time for her to complete the required 300 hours of "sweat equity" to qualify for the purchase of the property.

But she got it done, all while raising two young children and working as a supervisor at Tim Horton's in Batavia.

"This speaks to her dedication and determination to provide a safe and stable home for her family," said Lauren Casey, CEO of Habitat in Genesee County.

The work was worth it, Boyki said.

"I loved it," she said. "I absolutely loved it. It gives you more enjoyment of being a homeowner versus just moving into a house."

With a piece of property out of the city she thinks she and her kids will have more freedom for themselves.

'It's an opportunity," she said. "The kids love animals, so we will be able to own some animals. I don't have to worry about a landlord and if something breaks, them fixing it on their own time."


Mary Case presented Boyki with a quilt she made to add comfort to the new home during the dedication ceremony.


Marie Scofield presented a symbolic loaf of bread.


May 6, 2017 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, albama, Habitat for Humanity, news.


Diane Winters cuts a board for the new front porch going onto the front of 1299 Bloomingdale Road, Basom, as part of a restoration effort on the latest project home for Genesee County Habitat for Humanity.

It was Women's Build Day.

The thing about this house, originally built in 1900, is that a future owner has not yet been selected. Habitat for Humanity is still accepting applicants.

"This was a house outside our normal rehab area so we're excited about expanding our service area to families," said Lauren Casey, president of the board. "It’s been a little bit of a struggle for us, as it turns out, to find a family. We’re still searching for a family, but that was the opportunity we wanted to seize."

Casey said for the right family, the three-bedroom, 1,648-square-foot house on a half-acre lot, is going to be a beautiful home. But that family isn't likely to come from the area of Habitat's normal reach, which is Batavia.

"I think it’s going to be tough for a family where we normally communicate with our families in Batavia to have them relocate, especially if they have kids to have them come out to this area," Casey said. "I think somebody in the Oakfield-Alabama School District is going to be our best bet for a family."

The family will need to put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" into the home, plus meet other financial qualifications (there is both a minimum and maximum level of income -- for more information, click here).

"I think it’s going to be a beautiful house. I think it’s just a matter of finding the right family," Casey said.








April 15, 2017 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Habitat for Humanity.


A house becomes a home when it's filled with love, Pastor Vern Saile reminded the Odom family today during the dedication of their Habitat for Humanity restored house on State Street, Batavia.

"The Bible says unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain," Saile said. "I know the Lord has been building this house. ... I know much of the Lord’s love has been in every nail that’s been pounded into the wall and every board that’s been put up and everything that’s been painted and sanded and cleaned."

The Odoms -- Brandon, Tiffany, Madden, 9, and Maleeya, 1 -- expressed gratitude for their new home and Brandon said he will never forget the volunteers who helped with the project over the past 11 months while he put in 500 hours of labor into the project. He won't forget, he said, restoring the hardwood floor upstairs or putting in the tile of the backsplash in the kitchen.

"Brandon was meticulous in his work," said Jaylene Smith Kilner, executive director of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity. 

P.J. Riner, construction director, got a little choked up talking about the Odom family and Brandon's dedication to the project.

"He’s worked very, very hard," Riner said. "He’s been a joy to work with and I’m confident he’s going to be a key part of this community for a long time."

Brandon has worked at Home Depot for nine years and is a part-time as a bus driver.

For his part, Madden couldn't wait to show off his new bedroom to visitors following the dedication ceremony.

One of the next potential projects for Habitat, said Board President Lauren Casey, is the restoration of a house on Bloomingdale Road, Basom. The project is awaiting applicants from potential homeowners who qualify for a Habitat home.


Part of the tradition of a Habitat home dedication are symbolic gifts: bread, so the new owners may never know hunger; sugar, so the home is always sweet; light, so that the home never knows darkness; flowers, to fill the home with beauty; and, a Bible, so there is always a blessing on the house.


Lauren Casey



June 25, 2016 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, news, Oak Street.


Today, Habitat for Humanity dedicated the new home on Oak Street of Sheila and Jada Rolle.

Sheila expressed her gratitude for the staff and volunteers who helped them with a beautiful home.

"There’s so much love and peace and the angels all around because everyone who took part in this project blessed us so much, and I thank all of you for the love that you’ve shown us and you have given us," Sheila said.



May 22, 2016 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, news.


It was a long journey for James and Jessica Maskell and their two young children, Bailey and Sophie, to finally get to the day where they could move into their new home on Pearl Street.

The journey started long before the Maskells even knew they would get a home through Habitat for Humanity, when City Manager Jason Molino guided Habitat's Jessica Maguire-Tomidy and P.J. Riner through the house and Riner argued against Habitat taking on the project. 

The house was such a mess, but according to Riner's account, Molino pressed the issue and Maguire-Tomidy agreed they should give it a try.

"The city is instrumental in its vision in developing these homes and these neighborhoods," Riner said. "Jason has brought that vision to fruition here in this home. He walked us through and I said, 'no.' I think it was the first time I ever said no to a house. This house looked terrible, but after we got started on this house, we found there was much here to be saved."

He said the house has a great floor plan, had a solid structure and turned out to be worth saving.

"I actually like doing these rehabs more than the new builds," he said. "These houses have more character and more space."

The long journey included hundreds of hours of volunteer labor from people throughout the community and students from RIT and thousands of dollars in donated material from area businesses.

"We after week, they show up when it's raining, it's snowing, it's cold, it's hot and they do the hard and very important work of building the actual house," Maguire-Tomidy said.

James Maskell said he and his wife were so grateful to all the volunteers and the donors that made their new home possible.  

"We really didn't expect this to happen," Maskell said. "When we first signed up, we thought, why not give it a chance, and now, here we are."

Like all new Habitat homeowners, James and Jessica also pitched in on the rehab effort as their down payment on their mortgage.

"When we hand over a project like this that's complete, we feel like we've made a difference not only the in lives of the family but in the community we live in, Maguire-Tomidy said.


May 4, 2016 - 12:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, news.


A neighbor on South Main Pearl Street is obviously grateful for Habitat for Humanity's restoration of a house two doors down.

The house is nearly complete and the family that will move in is in escrow on the purchase. A dedication is expected May 21.

Habitat currently has another project in progress on State Street.


July 29, 2015 - 2:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in IAFF Local 896, batavia, Habitat for Humanity, City Fire.


Today, off duty city firefighters, members of Local 896, are volunteering their time to help work on the Habitat for Humanity house on Oak Street.





June 8, 2015 - 11:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia.


Sunday was a day of sun and smiles for Muriel Austin and her daughters. A Habitat for Humanity home at 2 McKinley Ave., Batavia, is now their home.

"When we actually came and saw the house (when it first became available) and it didn't look anything like this," Austin said. "It looked the way it did before it looked like this and I fell in love with it anyway. 'Oh, my God, I'm going to have a house and it's so big.' I'm not thinking anything beyond that. I just saw that Jessica and other staff members found it in their heart that this would be suitable for you and your girls."

After a brief welcome by Habitat CEO Jessica Maguire-Tomidy, and the gift of a mirror from Lauren Casey, president of the Habitat board, Austin played a recording of a song taken from a verse of the Quran that means "protection."

Austin has five children and four of them live with her (the oldest is an adult). They are LaMonika, Brooklyn, Antoinette and Khadija.

She thanked all the volunteers who helped her with her new home, noting how hard they worked, the expertise and skill many of them brought to the job and the support they offered throughout the process.

"I realized what Habitat is about," Austin said. "It's not about religion. It's not about color. It's not about anything like that. It's about family, community and making a difference, not only making a difference, but also getting people to push in a (better) direction."








May 10, 2015 - 7:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity.


Saturday was "Women Build Day" for Habitat for Humanity and in Batavia more than 50 women signed up to assist with the current project for Genesee County, at 26 Oak St.

The prospective homeowner is Sheila Rolle and her daughter Jada. Local Habitat CEO Jessica Maguire-Tomidy said she is particularly excited about this project because Rolle was the first potential homeowner who came to her when she started six years ago and Rolle has worked hard to get herself in a position to qualify for a Habitat home.

It was a hot, dusty day at the construction site.










February 24, 2015 - 1:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity.

The city's tax lien auction list for 2015 includes 12 parcels, with five single-family homes and two commercial buildings.

City staff is also recommending the sale of three vacant homes in poor condition to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation and sale to a low-income family.

There's also a piece of vacant property on Law Street next to the city's current yard waste collection center -- the center is on leased land -- that may be suitable for a new yard waste facility.

These four properties aren't included on the list of properties slated to be auctioned off March 14 at Bontrager's on Wortendyke Road, Town of Batavia.

In a memo to City Council, City Manager Jason Molino noted that the city has previously sold seven single-family homes to Habitat for Humanity, and these homes have been successfully rehabilitated and occupied, increasing the average assessment by 38 percent.

The three properties to be offered to Habitat this year are:

  • 54 Oak St., which has been vacant since March 2011, for $2,500
  • 131 Pearl St., which has been vacant since August 2012, for $1,000
  • 240 State St., whose owner died, for $2,500

The foreclosed properties slated for auction are:

Address Type Delinquency Value
214 Ellicott St. Commercial $13,396 $70,000
Ellicott Street, rear Vacant land $2,923 $31,000
Hall, City Centre Commercial $1,146 $10,000
30 Hutchins Place Vacant land $2,458 $3,600
26-28 Hutchins Place Vacant land $17,421 $35,000
South Main St. Vacant land $88 $100
159 Bank St. Single family $22,017 $72,000
33 Clinton St. Single family $37,630 $79,000
42 Lyon St. Single family $24,479 $69,000
27 Oak St. Single family $31,817 $60,000
210 Ross St. Single family $32,532 $68,000
214 Swan St. Two family $32,532 $68,000
141 Liberty St. Vacant land $9,325 $6,800

As in previous years, buyers will be reviewed by city staff and the city reserves the right to reject a purchase a buyer it believes is not qualified to maintain the property.

January 25, 2015 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Habitat for Humanity.

As a 22-year-old single mother, Megan Curry never thought homeownership was a realistic goal, but then a coworker told her about Habitat for Humanity and how the organization helped her move into her own house.

Soon, Curry and her son Kayden will be living in their own home on Old Oak Orchard Road, Elba.

The property was donated by MY-T Acres Farm and the Call family. Habitat volunteers, along with Curry, built the three bedroom house from the basement up.

"I never thought something like this would be possible, so the fact that I can be a homeowner and the fact that I helped build my own house is a big deal," Curry said. "It's really empowering."

Pictured are Stephen Curry, Megan's father, Kayden and Megan, her grandmother Phyllis Darling, sister Kayla Curry and her mother, Laura Curry.

June 4, 2014 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Habitat for Humanity, Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew.

There should be some fun times at the Smokin' Eagle in Le Roy tonight -- it's the annual Habitat for Humanity fundraiser, "Pour You A Drink."

All tips to the celebrity bartenders will benefit Habitat.

I'll be there, with Mayor Greg "Porp" Rogers, Bill Pitcher from the Ghost Riders, Joe "The Comedian" Condidorio and Rick Ellis, from the famed band Duke Jupiter. 

The fun starts at 6 p.m. and doesn't stop until 10 p.m.

May 10, 2014 - 10:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, McKinley Avenue.

Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County has made good progress on its latest project, a home on McKinley Avenue for Muriel Austin and her daughter Brooklyn, who were on the job today to help with the restoration.

Alicia Calcote, a student at RIT, with Sarah Harley and Brooklyn.

April 11, 2014 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, Batavia HS.

Spencer Hubbard, 2014 Mr. Batavia, presented a $2,200 check today to Jess Tomidy, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Genesee County. The Mr. Batavia competition at Batavia High School raises money for the winner's charity of choice. After winning the competition last month, Hubbard said he picked Habitat because, "I feel like it's a basic need, that people need homes. A lot of people are homeless who don't deserve to be. They really need that help."

February 11, 2014 - 9:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity.

Of the past half decade, vacant and abandoned homes have become problem in Batavia, according to City Manager Jason Molino.

Vacant and abandoned homes bring down residential home values in the immediate area, attract crime, suck up city resources with code enforcement and police responses and eventually the city ends up paying for property clean-up.

On the other hand, a vacant home filled with a family adds $20,000 in retail buying power to the city's economy.

"Vacant homes are a burden on any municipality," Molino said. "Whether it's the resources we have to use to address them, the lack of buying power because of the vacancy, the deterioration of the home itself or the deterioration of the neighborhood around it, there's a lot of studies, a lot of data on the impact of vacant and abandoned homes and they have a negative impact."

Over the past two years, the City of Batavia has taken properties taken in foreclosure for lack of property tax payments and deeded the properties to Habitat for Humanity.

The program has proven a resounding success, Molino said. Properties restored by Habitat have increased in assessed value by 30 to 40 percent and are occupied by families that take care of the properties.

"You've got owner-occupants who take pride in their home," Molino said. "It's a good program. I wish we could do more of it."

One of the tasks for the yet-to-be-hired assistant city manager will be to look at ways to get more vacant and abandoned houses into the hands of responsible homeowners.

"With continued focus and leadership the city could make an aggressive effort to target four or five properties annually with more partnerships similar to that with Habitat for Humanity," Molino wrote in a report to City Council. "This includes several initiatives such as attempting taking title of abandoned properties quicker, greater accountability of mortgage holders and partnering with not-for-profits for rehabilitation and investment in these properties."

Monday night, the council approved the sale of four house seized for back taxes (six properties total). The houses are at 5-7 Buell St., 6 Madison Ave., 3 Manhattan Ave., and 11 S. Spruce St.

So far, there's no deal in place to deed one or more of the homes to Habitat, but Molino said such an arrangement is still possible. If an agreement is reached, the council would have to approve the transfer.

No date has been announced for auction of the seized properties.

November 3, 2013 - 11:28am
posted by Billie Owens in Habitat for Humanity, five star bank.

Press release:

Five Star Bank has announced a $5,000 donation to Genesee County Habitat for Humanity for the construction of a family home in the area.

"We are committed to the well being of the communities we serve,” said Marty Griffith, regional president of Five Star Bank. “Genesee County Habitat for Humanity serves its community with diligence and sincerity, and Five Star Bank fully supports their mission. We want to help foster strong, safe communities, and they are the ideal partner for this vision."

Five Star Bank has also announced $5,000 gifts to the counties of Livingston, Chemung, Orleans, and Ontario, as well as Genesee Valley Habitat for Humanity organizations in support of the bank’s commitment to the communities it serves. The bank also served as the 2013 presenting sponsor of the Habitat for Humanity Leaders Build Luncheon, and the co-sponsor of the Leaders House.

October 24, 2013 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, IAFF Local 896, City Fire.

City firefighters, members of IAFF Local 896, have been volunteering their time to help with the revitalization of a house on Harvester Avenue by Habitat for Humanity.

Joining in the tasks today were Dave Adams, Tim Stengel, Chuck Hammon, Mike Dorgan, Adam Palumbo, Nathan Kinne, Mark Mikolajczyk and Christina Marinaccio.

Top photo, Kinne and Palumbo. Bottom, Marinaccio and Stengel.

October 9, 2013 - 12:16pm
posted by Jessica Maguire... in Part time, Habitat for Humanity, retail.
Company Name: 
Habitat for Humanity
Job Type: 
Habitat for Humanity is seeking an individual to serve as a part time ReStore Manager. Our ReStore is a thrift style store with a focus on furnishings and home improvement items. 
May 11, 2013 - 8:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Habitat for Humanity, Harvester Avenue.

Today was Women Build Day at the Habitant for Humanity project house on Harvester Avenue. More than 75 percent of the workers at the job site were women, part of a national week that recognizes women in the construction trades.

Work on the house began Wednesday with the Day of Caring.

Above, Kelly McCaffery, of Rochester, removes from debris from the house. Also pictured below, Charlotte Dickson (carrying wood out of the house) and Marsha (no last name given) from Wyoming, who was prying wood from the walls of the kitchen.

April 29, 2013 - 5:20pm
posted by Tasia Boland in batavia, Habitat for Humanity.

Amy Burdick and her son, Mikah, were living in a subsidized, substandard apartment in the City of Batavia until Habitat entered their lives and worked with them so they could experience what it feels like to own a home of their own for the very first time. 

Burdick is Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County’s 10th homeowner. Burdick showed volunteers a cell phone photo she had taken of her current front door (having an inch gap where light and heat were escaping) as she stood next to her brand new energy-efficient home with a big smile. 

Habitat of Genesee did a complete rehab at 104 North St. in a total of 10 months. 

“Being a part of Habitat for Humanity as a homeowner is a life-changing experience,” Burdick said.

She highly recommends it to other families who are trying to make ends meet. 

Before Burdick received a flier about homeownership with Habitat, she hadn’t considered buying a house in the near future. But she decided to call about the opportunity, and before she knew it, she was selected as a partner family.

“I remember how excited my mom, sister and I were.” Burdick said. “We were peeking through the windows before construction had even started.” 

Burdick’s family was thrilled to know they could provide lunches to the volunteers. Along with other volunteers, Burdick’s family was very dedicated in making sure the volunteer work crew was properly feed.

One RIT student said one of the best parts of volunteering with Habitat are the delicious home-cooked meals.

The demo for this house was started during the National Women’s Build Day sponsored by Lowe’s on May 12, 2012. Women’s Build Day brings together women from all walks of life to address the housing crisis facing millions of families worldwide. Women and children are often hardest hit by this epidemic.

Because Habitat is a program that is structured to be a “hand up” and not a “hand out,” Habitat homeowners are required to put in sweat equity hours. Burdick put in a total of 350 hours on top of working two full-time jobs. 

Her favorite part of partnering with Habitat?

“The wonderful people,” she said with a warm smile. “I didn’t know there were people out there still like that, who are so caring, kind and promising."

The house was built by volunteers who met two days a week, six hours a day. There were more than 150 volunteers who gave their time to help make this house a home.

Burdick is still in amazement she said because; “People who do not know me are doing all of this for a total stranger.” She commented about volunteer PJ Riner who spent countless hours in between the work days volunteering his time and how grateful she is for him and those who spent so many hours on this house.

Burdick said she will always be connected to Habitat because "they are a group of people with big hearts who want to improve the community and we always had a good time.”

Genesee Habitat will begin rehabbing their next home on 11 Harvester Ave. in Batavia. The demo on this house will kick off with the 2013 Women’s Build Day. Work will take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers are needed and all skill levels are welcome. Visit to sign up and learn more.  

Tasia Boland is operations manager for Habitat for Humanity in Batavia.


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