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Inside the HOW Group's plan to give away 10 homes in Philadelphia by 2020

HOW Group real-estate in Conshohocken wants to give away more homes than Habitat for Humanity.

The small HOW Group real-estate company likes to make a big footprint — especially when it comes to giving back to communities in the region.

The Conshohocken company of 76 employees provides hundreds of Thanksgiving meals, supports holiday toy drives, raises tens of thousands for nonprofits, and more.

This year, HOW has supersized its efforts, taking on its biggest community service commitment yet. The company's new nonprofit, HOW Charities, has an ambitious goal: It plans to develop houses to give away to low-income families and offer homeowners support services for the first year. It also wants to renovate existing homes to accommodate disabled residents.

With a budget of $280,000, the charity expects this year to purchase and rehab from top to bottom two properties, starting with a recently acquired house in Overbrook, said HOW Charities coordinator Mary Pack. HOW's contractors also are donating time and material. By 2020, the charity wants to give away 10 homes a year and become the largest charity provider of homes in the Philadelphia area, according to Pack.

"There is so much poverty in the city," she said, "so many people homeless, so many people struggling to keep a roof over their heads. It's time for us to help out, just like Habitat for Humanity [the international nonprofit that builds affordable housing]."

"What Habitat does is amazing. We want to follow," Pack said, before correcting herself. "No, we want to be even better than them."