30 Seconds with Jonathan Gallo of Habitat for Humanity

The executive director of Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity chats about the role he plays in the Kent County community.

Finding a replacement for former director Jocelyn Tice wasn’t an easy job for the hiring committee of Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity. But Jonathan Gallo, 38, seems to be perfect. Gallo is looking forward to creating more affordable housing in Dover and building awareness of another resource: Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

DT: How long have you been in your new position?
I have been with Habitat in my new position for about seven months.

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DT: How did you get involved in Habitat for Humanity?
Well, the prior executive director had been here for about seven years and was looking to expand her family. I have a background in construction, finance and management, and the hiring committee thought I would be a great fit. I had always admired the organization. I was familiar with Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County because, in my former position as the chief financial officer of Beracah Homes Inc., we partnered with them.

DT: What is your role with Habitat?
It is a diverse position. I help keep the organization running, I work with families and plan groundbreakings. We are partnering with the city of Dover and working on the downtown development district, which provides a variety of incentives to property owners within the district from the state, Kent County, the city of Dover and the Downtown Dover Partnership. I am also responsible for the ReStore, which sells donated goods. 

DT: What is your favorite part of your job?
JG: It fits with my personality. I enjoy working with people. This position gives me a great opportunity to do that, but I also enjoy the home building aspect.

DT: Habitat is still building affordable housing in the area. Can you talk about how someone qualifies, as well as how many volunteers are involved?
JG: To qualify, you have to be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Kent County for at least a year and have some form of steady income that is 60 percent less than the area median income. We also ask for a 250-hour sweat equity requirement, but if someone cannot help build, they can help out in other ways, such as volunteering in the ReStore. Typically 250 volunteers will spend around 1,950 hours building one home. 

DT: What is the ReStore?
JG: The ReStore is where community members and businesses donate building materials, home goods and furniture. We sell those goods to raise money to build homes. The ReStore is open Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

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DT: What is Habitat most in need of?
JG: We are really looking for people to donate their items to the ReStore. All donations are tax-deductible and all the proceeds go to Habitat and help pay for building materials and professional services needed for construction of the homes. We are also going to have a heavy schedule building homes this year, so we are always looking to partner with individuals and businesses.

DT: Are there any projects or initiatives that Habitat is planning for the future?
JG: We are planning on starting and finishing eight homes this year. We are also in the early stages of trying to relocate our administrative offices to downtown Dover.

DT: You live in Harrington. Are you a native?
: Yes, I am a native of Harrington. It is an agricultural area and home of the Delaware State Fair. I am a project leader in 4-H and have always enjoyed being a part of the agricultural community. It is also where my great grandparents settled when they came over from Italy.

DT: What do you like to do in your free time?
I love doing things with my two kids, anything that involves sports and camping. I am also the fire captain and treasurer for the Farmington Volunteer Fire Company.

Jonathan Gallo of Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity
(Photo by Keith Mosher)

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