Pirates star goes to bat for McKeesport family in need
Shawnda Yvette Little-Dreher and her family will be moving into a beautiful McKeesport home with the help of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh and a star baseball player.
Little-Dreher, her husband Timothy Joel Dreher, and their daughter Tamia Little-Dreher rent a small home in central McKeesport. Their landlord is searching for a buyer for the property, putting the family in danger of not having a place to live.
Shawnda Little-Dreher said the family submitted an application to Habitat for Humanity. It was approved by the board of directors, who secured a home for the family along Jefferson Street near McKeesport Area High School.
“We've been so excited,” she said on Tuesday. “I'm so ready to get us out of there and to finally have something to call our own, and don't have to pick up and move again.”
About 20 volunteers helped renovate the property on Tuesday. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was among them.
“Any way that I can help, I'm willing to help,” McCutchen said. “Working with Habitat for Humanity's definitely something that I want to be a part of because I grew up in a town where my family worked hard, but sometimes they needed help financially. I can relate to families that work very hard.”
Tamia, a sophomore, plays softball at McKeesport Area High School. Dreher works for Auberle, and Little-Dreher studies business at Community College of Allegheny County South Campus in hope of pursuing a catering career.
McCutchen met the family at PirateFest. He spoke with the parents outside their new home on Tuesday. They talked about the ball club, how the season is going, and how much working on the project meant to them.
“It's exciting,” Shawnda Little-Dreher said. “I love McCutchen as a baseball player; him and (Pedro) Alvarez and (Neil) Walker. The only team I watch is the Pirates. I love baseball, but I only watch the Pirates.”
“I'm passionate enough to come out and help and do anything I can to help,” McCutchen said. “I'm not doing this because I feel like I have to. I'm doing it because I really want to. It's amazing just to be able to see them, to be able to talk to them for a little bit. They're a great, hardworking family and just grateful for us to be able to come out and help. It's good just to be able to see their smiling faces.”
Shawnda Little-Dreher said her family is moving to a new part of the city in either June or July.
“I love this community,” she said. “Where we're at now is terrible. Since we've been up there, there have been so many shootings. Someone got shot in front of our house. It's just crazy.”
They qualified for the Habitat for Humanity program because they make 53 percent of the median income for a family of three,
Habitat executive director Maggie Withrow said.The home was donated by Chase Bank through one of its programs. Habitat provided it to the family at an estimated $80,000 sale price through an interest-free mortgage.
“We're hopeful that more local banks would participate in the same type of programs,” Withrow said. “It's a way for them to get foreclosed houses off of their books and into the hands of people who can do something recyclable.”
Volunteers framed the basement family room, hung drywall in the kitchen, removed old carpet and did general cleanup work on Tuesday.
“With the work that it needed to have done to it, it could have sat here for years before anybody would be willing to invest in it and do the rehab,” Withrow said.
“We couldn't do what we do without our volunteers,” Habitat construction supervisor Lee Baumann said.
The family is volunteering for Habitat as part of their minimum 350 hours of “sweat equity” in lieu of a down payment,
Habitat plans to build or renovate homes for 170 families over the next three years. It receives no direct funding from Habitat International, so all funding for Greater Pittsburgh projects must be raised through local sources, Withrow said.
More information is available online at www.pittsburghhabitat.org/projects.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ankle replacement makes UPMC McKeesport history
- McKeesport man charged with sex assault on 13-year-old girl
- Elizabeth Township to pay for road paving study
- Erie attorney named trustee for bankrupt Homestead Cemetery
- East Allegheny may meet this week with education association
- Charges held against suspect in McKeesport market robbery, assault
- McKeesport man accused of firing at child to stand trial
- Tuesday takes
- New traffic lights to be installed near McKeesport’s Jerome Bridge
- Student ‘geek squad’ to help train Steel Valley classmates on iPads
- Narcotics officers thwart Elizabeth drug deal