Date ArticleType
4/28/2020 Member News

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties Continues to Serve Families in Need amid COVID-19 Crisis

Clearwater, FL— On Friday, April 24th, 2020, four families will close on their new, safe and affordable homes after completing the Habitat for Humanity homeownership program. The Cottner, Daniels, Rodriguez and Ross families partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties to build their forever homes, which they will purchase with zero percent interest mortgages. On Friday, the closings will take place at the Habitat Clearwater office, following CDC safety guidelines.

Habitat homeownership partner families must demonstrate a need for adequate shelter, the ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat to invest 350 to 450 “sweat equity” hours. These soon-to-be homeowners also completed 20 homeowner education classes, from budgeting to how to be a good neighbor, to prepare for their new chapter as homeowners.

Due to COVID-19, everyone has been forced to consider the fundamental importance of home — of having safe, decent and affordable shelter. ??????? “During these unprecedented times, we must remember that housing is essential. Housing provides safety, stability and shelter. Housing is also an integral part of healthcare”, explains Mike Sutton, president and CEO of the affiliate. “The ability to stay ‘safer at home’ or ‘shelter in place’ relies on the condition that you have a safe and adequate place to shelter in.”

Undoubtedly, while many take this for granted, too many of our fellow community members lack access to safe, decent and affordable housing. Given these trying times, when health and wellness is of paramount concern, safe, decent and affordable housing is essential to the wellbeing of individuals and families and our community as a whole.

Homeowners Mary Watson and Lakesha Munn closed on their Habitat homes several weeks ago. They now have the stability of a safe and affordable home to take shelter in during the pandemic. (Photos attached.)

While operations have transitioned to a remote work flow for Habitat staff and volunteer operations have come to a halt, the organization continues to move its mission forward. On Friday, the Cottner, Daniels, Rodriguez and Ross families will be one step closer to having a safe place for their families to call home.

In the midst of the pandemic, Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco partners remain supportive of its mission to provide safe and affordable homeownership opportunities for those in need. All four of the families’ home builds were sponsored by local community partners.

The Cottner family is the affiliate’s 2020 Faith Build partner, which brings the faith community together to build alongside a deserving family. This build was funded in part by a matching grant provided by Thrivent Financial. The Daniels’ home build was sponsored in honor of Pinellas Community Foundation, who was able to join Regina on-site for a paint day before volunteer operations were required to close. The Rodriguez family build is sponsored by Bankers Financial, the company’s fourth Habitat home build. MaintenX partnered with the Ross family on their second home build with Habitat.


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Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and West Pasco Counties

Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties has served over 813 families and individuals through its new home buyer and exterior repair programs using locally raised funds. Volunteers and the future homeowners construct the homes, which are sold at no profit and financed with a zero-interest loan. Habitat homeowner candidates earn 30 to 80 percent of area median income. Candidates must demonstrate need for adequate shelter; ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat to invest 350 to 450 “sweat equity” hours. Mortgage monies are used to build even more homes, making each donation to Habitat a perpetual legacy to the community. Habitat believes that homeownership contributes to family stability, leading, in turn, to community stability. Additionally, the affiliate raises funds through their two ReStores, home improvement outlets where donated household and building items are sold to the public. For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, call (727) 536-4755 or visit