Habitat for Humanity building new affordable homes in Strawberry Mansion

The homes are part of Coltrane Commons, a development of 21 affordable homes named for the jazz legend who lived in the area.

Katherine Scott Image
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Habitat for Humanity building new homes in Strawberry Mansion
Hammers in hand, Habitat for Humanity volunteers worked to building affordable homes in Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion section.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hammers in hand, volunteers in position - the Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia build continued on Thursday at 32nd and Oxford Streets in Strawberry Mansion.

"Today we'll be framing, so basically we are putting up walls to make sure the house is ready for people to move in," explained Amazjah Grant, a volunteer coordinator with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.

The homes are part of the Coltrane Commons development of 21 affordable homes, named for jazz legend John Coltrane, who lived in the area in the 1950s.

"Philly has a history with John Coltrane, the musician, this whole development was named after community members," said Grant.

Five two-floor homes are now being built on this Strawberry Mansion lot. Ten volunteers from specialty materials company Arkema Inc, pitched in to help, including CEO Tony O'Donovan.

"What better than to be working in Philadelphia, helping to provide homes into an area that's needed?" he said.

Arkema's North American headquarters are located in King of Prussia. Through its three-year sponsorship with Habitat, Arkema will provide $330,000 in funding, offer employee volunteers, and donate sustainable building products.

"We have more high-tech materials that go in to provide energy efficient housing and good sealing systems, so we want to make sure those are brought into designs for the people that have housing, so that it's not just in high-end commercial buildings, it's also in residential homes," said O'Donovan.

Habitat is in the process of matching families to these homes.

This development is a mix of single-family and condo buildings to accommodate different household types, needs, and financial means.

As usual, a Habitat build team works alongside volunteers, providing on-site instructions.

"Without our donors and our partnerships and building those relationships, we wouldn't be able to do what we do," said Grant.

These homes are expected to be completed next year.

For more information on this development, visit: https://www.habitatphiladelphia.org/coltrane-commons/