It’s not just a key.
“It represents the door to a future,” said Tim Daly with Habitat for Humanity.
And the future starts today for Mariam Matias and her daughter, who says her desire to apply for the Habitat for Humanity program started with lessons learned at the law firm where she works.
“We get a lot of evictions in and out and the eviction rate in Pennsylvania, in Berks County, has risen,” said fist-time homeowner Matias.
The home in the 400 block of Miltimore Street represents so much more to her family.
“I wanted something that was mine. Stability, security. And I said I have to do something. Because I can’t wake up one day and not have a home,” said Matias.
It also symbolizes the city’s ongoing efforts to turn the Buttonwood Gateway around.
“In order to have safe neighborhoods, we need to have proper housing,” said Reading Mayor Eddie Moran.
Matias says she’s well aware of the city’s struggles.
“I came here to Reading when I was 17. There’s been good moments and bad moments, there’s crime everywhere,” Matias said. “The crime’s always gonna go down when you bring good people in.”
Hers is the first of eleven Habitat homes to be built in the neighborhood.
“Habitat will not shrink from these challenges and together we will come together to meet the needs of this community,” said Daly.
Mariam says it’s not all about a new home, but the people that live there, that can help change a neighborhood.
“It’s about removing yourself from it and not being a part of it and creating homes where people want to live,” she added.