“Good Works is a Chester County success story in the way its staff and volunteers literally roll up their sleeves and put their faith to work in assisting their neighbors in need,” Dinniman said. “We prevailed in securing this vital funding to help offset funding cuts at the county level, and I will continue to work to support Good Works and the many other nonprofit organizations that support our neighbors in need.”
The funds come through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Keystone Communities Program and will be matched by Good Works through a reimbursement program.
“We work to keep people from becoming homeless,” Bob Beggs, Executive Director of Good Works said. “Our goal is to keep families together, safe and healthy in their own homes and to leave families in a much better position than when they started.”
According to Beggs, this is the first time in memory that Good Works has received significant funding from the Commonwealth. The state funds will go to improving and rehabilitating the homes of an estimated 15 families throughout Chester County.
Good Works operates from warehouses in Coatesville, West Chester, Phoenixville, and St. Peters Village providing services across all of central and northern Chester County. They rely extensively upon volunteer labor and are currently completing repairs on 43 homes.
The Christian-based organization also receives volunteer support from students and youth groups throughout the summer.
Last year alone, 1,657 volunteers donated 39,697 hours of time to Good Works to assist 200 families in need.
One of the things that distinguish Good Works is that it provides a total home inspection to those who are approved for assistance and is committed to repairing all of the home’s major issues.
“The call usually starts with a problem regarding plumbing, heating or roofing. We provide a total home inspection with a contract that fixes everything,” Beggs said. “Most of our clients are in ‘situational poverty.’ They are working – sometimes two or three jobs – but they’re struggling to hold onto their homes. It demonstrates how most of us are just one accident, illness, job loss, divorce, or bad decision away from poverty.”
But Good Works does much more than simply provide cost-free home repairs to those in need, according to Beggs.
“We are a ministry,” he said. “People living in poverty often have much larger issues than home repair. Our volunteers care for these homeowners like they are family. We cry with them, laugh with them and pray with them. We make referrals to other local services and strive to get them connected with caring faith communities. When we’re done a project, 95 percent of those we help say little about the repairs and everything about the relationships. Hope fights poverty. We are purveyors of hope and we’re bold about that.”
Dinniman said that he was pleased to be able to help secure funding for Good Works, which celebrates its 30th anniversary next year, and is hopeful that the organization will be successful in accessing other state grant funding programs and opportunities.
For more information on Good Works, visit www.goodworksinc.org.