Hometown Habitat News

COVID-19 Response

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter cares about the health and safety of our staff, supporters and the people we serve.  This includes the prevention of disease and viral infections on site, at our ReStores, and in the office.  In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak we want to assure you that measures are being taken to keep our build sites, ReStores, and offices a safe, fun, and healthy environment.

We are actively monitoring and adhering to the guidance provided by Habitat for Humanity International as well as local, state and federal health agencies.  By practicing of social distancing and out of safety and concern for our staff, customers, and donors we have shut down all our ReStores, Fleet, & Dispatch Center *Effective immediately (March 20, 2020) until further notice.  We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and cooperation. And we look forward to reopening and serving all those in the community. We will continue to post additional updates here as conditions change.

While we continue to move forward, we do ask that if you feel unwell or have traveled recently to one of the areas designated by the CDC as level 3, you refrain from visiting a Habitat build, ReStore or office. Similarly, if a member of your household has potentially been exposed to the virus through travel or other means, seek medical guidance and refrain from participating in any Habitat-related events, including volunteering or shopping in our ReStores.

Please see below health guidelines that offer advice from the World Health Organization on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Good health guidelines

CONTACT:

Please reach out if you have any concerns to Info@HabitatLS.org or (352) 483-0434

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time.

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Pink Champagne Virtual Party!

Women Build 2020 Virtual Party

Did you miss the Pink Champagne VIRTUAL Party? Don’t worry you can still watch all the videos below!

Pink Champagne VIRTUAL Party: Part 1
Pink Champagne VIRTUAL Party: Part 2
Pink Champagne VIRTUAL Party: Part 3
CHEERS!

 

We want to see your Cheers photos and videos! Post them on our Facebook Page!

Register for Women Build and download your online fundraising packet!

*The Women Build projects will begin in May and August


The impact of these uncertain times is felt by everyone. Cancelled events, businesses closing, lost wages from shortened hours at work, and increased cost of childcare as schools close.

And one of the primary safety recommendations? Stay home.

Can you imagine not having a stable place to call home, the potential that one missed paycheck holds the possibility of losing your home? Lack of stability in a home makes something like an unexpected crisis difficult to prepare for.

In this unprecedented time, we have the opportunity to make a huge difference in our community. We invite you to rally with Habitat Lake-Sumter and give a local family a hand-up for a stronger, more stable future. You can raise funds and raise awareness by registering for Women Build and sharing your fundraising page to friends and family, and finally, raise the walls  and repair homes in Lake & Sumter Counties!

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Habitat for Humanity Builds, Refurbishes Lake County Homes

First National Bank of Mount Dora with future Habitat Lake-Sumter Homeowner Rachel

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter builds about eight homes a year, and refurbishes another 50 more. Although the organization does not give the homes away, it makes the financing affordable to fit small budgets.

  1. Candidates for Habitat for Humanity can apply on-line.
  2. Good credit is necessary.
  3. Household income is looked at.
  4. People who are accepted into the program must have a willingness to partner with the program.
  5. Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers with a good attitude and work ethic.​

Click here for the full story by Dave DeJohn from Spectrum News 13

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Habitat’s Women Build 2020 kicked off Wednesday

Habitat Lake-Sumter Homeowners Lorie and James painting the exterior of the home blue

On Wednesday, the nonprofit hosted the build at an under-construction home in Eustis, which will eventually go to Rachel Storey, a single mother, and her five-year-old son, Jackson.

EUSTIS – Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and Lowe’s extended an open invitation to women volunteers from throughout the community.

The women were sought to participate in a local event for International Women Build Week.

On Wednesday, the nonprofit hosted the build at an under-construction home in Eustis, which will eventually go to Rachel Storey, a single mother, and her five-year-old son, Jackson.

The Lowe’s-sponsored event – they provided the tools and materials – served as the local kickoff of the global initiative happening simultaneously in more than 235 communities in the United States, India and Canada. International Women Build Week runs from March 1-8 to highlight the global need for safe and affordable housing.

A couple of local volunteers showed up, were handed hard hats and put to work.

Lowe’s representatives, expected to have been at the work site, were unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts.

Habitat staff however, jumped in to compensate and the morning turned out to be a productive, educational and empowering one.

Site Supervisor Ernie Burley, in charge of teaching new skills to volunteers said he is always glad to have able and most of all, willing volunteers on any project.

Click here to read the full article by Roxanne Brown from the Daily Commercial

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WOMEN BUILD WITH HABITAT FOR HUMANITY ALLOWS FEMALES TO LEARN NEW SKILLS

International Women Build Day 2020 Group Photo

Several female volunteers and employees of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter are taking part in a global effort with Habitat for Humanity International, Lowe’s, and some 6,000 women volunteers in more than 235 U.S. communities, India and Canada for the International Women Build Week, which runs through March 8.

The event is to highlight the worldwide need for safe and affordable housing.

On March 4, the local crew installed some wood siding and painted the exterior of a Habitat house under construction in Eustis at 56 W. St. Louis Ave., with site supervisor Ernie Burley guiding the way and teaching new volunteers how to use different tools.

“It’s so cool to pop out a new skill every once in a while,” says Shari McCray, a homeowner and marketing manager for Habitat of Humanity of Lake-Sumter, who calls the first time she learned to use a circular saw. “It’s intimidating at first, and when you see it and think, ‘oh, my fingers!’ But it is really neat at the end of the day when you’re pumping out those boards.”

Her colleague Lacie Himes found it found to learn the skills to frame a house. “I’ve really learned to fell confident using a hammer and walked away feeling like ‘I could build my owe house! I could do this!”

Read the full article by Theresa Campbell of Lake & Sumter Style Magazine

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Leesburg construction students celebrate successes at dry-in ceremony

Lynnea W. & Bryan R. with the Leesburg High School students outside the home they are building.

Leesburg High School construction students showed community members around the home and guests wrote positive messages for the eventual homeowners. The rest of the house will be built out in the coming months.

LEESBURG — Leesburg High construction students celebrated with their community Friday at a dry-in ceremony for the house they’ve been building with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter since the start of the school year.

Dozens of community members and partners attended the dry-in, held in the partially built home at 107 North 12th St. to mark the completion of the home’s outer shell and the beginning of interior work for the students

“I loved seeing it, piece by piece, come together,” construction student Abraham Ledesma said during a brief tour of the home’s undeveloped interior.

Ledesma said it was the first time he’d ever gotten to work on such an expansive and satisfying project even having worked construction with his family in the past.

He pointed to the back wall of the house — the first wall they lifted into place — and began pointing to the different rooms, which included multiple bedrooms and two bathrooms.

He talked about the features of each room as though the wooden framework had already been walled off and he could see the finished product.

One sheet of drywall was set for the celebration as members of the community wrote positive messages on the inside and school district officials including Superintendent Diane Kornegay and board members Stephanie Luke, Bill Mathias and Sandy Gamble drilled the first screws.

The rest of the house will be filled out in the coming months.

Ledesma was happy, and surprised, with how much of the house he and his fellow students got to build. At first, he thought they would mostly be watching and chipping in on small things.

He said every part of the project, save for the air conditioning and electrical work, had at least one students’ hands in it, and most of the work was done independently: they’d get their instructions and be trusted to get it done.

The dry-in was also the first time the community was introduced to Bryan Russ, a 1996 Leesburg High graduate who just took over the construction academy from Jim Ellwood at the end of the fall semester.

Click here to read the full article by Payne Ray of the Daily Commercial

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VHS students show construction skills

Under the direction of instructor Bruce Haberle, reflected right, The Villages High School Construction Management Academy seniors David Routzahn, 17, and Trey Jones, 19, make chalk lines for the siding on a Habitat for Humanity house Tuesday in Lady Lake. Photos by Cindy Skop, Daily Sun

Under the direction of instructor Bruce Haberle, reflected right, The Villages High School Construction Management Academy seniors David Routzahn, 17, and Trey Jones, 19, make chalk lines for the siding on a Habitat for Humanity house Tuesday in Lady Lake.
Photos by Cindy Skop, Daily Sun

By building a house for Habitat for Humanity, Villages High School Construction Management Academy students are learning a lot. Students celebrated reaching the dry-in stage Wednesday with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Citizens First Bank, business partners in the construction industry, volunteers and the high school’s pep band. Dry-in is the turning point of the construction process when the framing, windows, exterior doors, roof, shingles and waterproof barrier are all done to protect anything inside the house that could be damaged by water. It’s usually the halfway point of the construction project, said Barry Martin, construction manager for Habitat for Humanity, who is supervising volunteers and working with VHS academy instructor Bruce Haberle.

Read this story and many others in Friday’s edition of the Daily Sun.

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Leesburg High students hit the small screen

Leesburg Site that Leesburg High School Construction Academy is building

Leesburg High School construction students have been working with Habitat for Humanity volunteers and local tradesman in the construction home at 107 N. 12th St. in Leesburg. The home, pictured Friday had made great progress to Marc Robertz-Schwartz, Habitat Academy’s executive producer. [Payne Ray/Daily Commercial]

The show will feature Leesburg construction students, local tradesmen and other partners as they work together to build a Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter home in Leesburg. New 15-minute episodes will air the third Monday of each month on Lake Sumter TV.

LEESBURG — Those curious how high school students could help build a house from start to finish have an opportunity to find out.

Habitat Academy, a 15-minute television show documenting the Leesburg High School Construction Academy’s work on a Leesburg home with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, will debut Monday at 7:30 p.m. on Lake Sumter TV. The channel will also upload it to Youtube and play it again throughout the week.

“I think people are going to be surprised by the progress,” Red Apples Media President and Habitat Academy executive producer Marc Robertz-Schwartz said. “We’re just amazed at how quickly that home is going up.”

Red Apples will continue to visit the home at 107 N. 12th St. once monthly in order to record the episodes, which will be released around the third week of every month. Robertz-Schwartz said they waited till the end of the year to produce the first episode as the build — a collaboration between expert tradesmen, Habitat volunteers and 11 LHS construction students — needed a few months to get off the ground.

Now that the build is underway and the production schedule has been outlined, Robertz-Schwartz said they’re expecting to produce nine episodes of Habitat Academy.

Their aim will be to showcase the build as it goes up, with episodes themed around the progress of the house.

The first episode will feature interviews with the construction students as well as community partners on the build and the show. In the following episodes, to be hosted by Don Magruder of RoMac Building Supply, the show will feature interviews with tradesmen and other experts as they showcase the progress of the build.

Click here to read the full article by Payne Ray of the Daily Commercial

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Habitat presents local family with new home

Santiago-Lozada Family photo

After touring the home she and her family were presented Friday, Lorie Lozada said: “We have two beds and TVs but we need sofas and a dining table, things like that. But that’s OK, little by little we’ll get what we need. The house is the important thing.”

EUSTIS – Around this time last year, James Santiago, his wife Lorie Lozada and their now 8-year-old son Jianluc Santiago were pondering a move from Puerto Rico to Florida after losing their home and possessions to Hurricane Maria. They had no idea where they would be living or what was in store for them.

On Friday morning however, they received keys to their very own home in Eustis, built just for them by Habitat for Humanity and other organizations, including the Ohlsson Charitable Trust, the Women Builders and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, who all came together for the cause.

“We are emotional and so excited,” Lozada said. “We just feel so incredibly lucky,”

The family had first been living in a hotel, and then in a nearby apartment.

“It’s a beautiful house and I feel so happy and grateful,” Santiago said.

Friends and family of the recipients, volunteers and members of all the participating organizations were invited to a “Welcome Home” dedication ceremony in front of the 3-bedroom, 2-bath home on Friday morning.

Habitat’s CEO Kent Adcock said for him, helping the family was especially meaningful because his own parents were victims to the wrath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and lost their home because of it.

“I know what they are feeling; what they are going through,” Adcock said at the dedication.

Through the building process, the house served to help many others along the way.

Lake Tech’s Laurie Bryant of the Women Builder’s “Hammer Knocker” team, said she was able to learn about what goes into building a home from scratch and found it very fulfilling.

Bryant and her team members on Friday, presented the family with a bible and a tool kit after they were presented with a flag by Ron Grove of the Sons of the American Revolution.

“I am honored that we were able to help build this house,” Bryant said.

Click here to read the full article and view a short clip by Roxanne Brown from the Daily Commercial

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Around the House: Students should consider a career in construction

Leesburg High School Youth Construction Academy students with Don Magrader, Romac Lumber & Supply

Don Magruder talks to students of the Leesburg Construction Academy during a ground-breaking ceremony for a Habitat for Humanity project. [Cindy Sharp/Correspondent]

The construction trade programs in our local high schools and technical schools are exploding with student growth and interest as young people are realizing that college is not for everyone and great career opportunities exist with construction-related skillsets. The writing is on the wall as technology will eliminate millions of jobs in manufacturing, retail and service-related industries over the next decade. Good college degree jobs in offices that exist today will be gone tomorrow — just ask people in the banking industry. Young people are seeing the future clearly and understand career paths are changing.

There are now construction academies in Lake and Sumter Counties — at Leesburg High School, Eustis High School, South Lake High School and The Villages Charter High School. There are over 300 students enrolled in these programs, and two of these academies (Leesburg and The Villages) are building homes for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.

Lake Tech is growing each semester with technical training in construction-related fields, and they are seeing continued growth in students and industry needs. Apprenticeship programs are springing up throughout Central Florida with groups like iBuild Central Florida laying the foundation for huge growth in training.

For any young person who is undecided whether to pursue a career in the construction trades or go to college, allow me to make the case for pursuing a career in the construction trades.

• Most skilled craftspeople earn more than most people who have a college degree. Even entry-level workers in the construction industry have an opportunity to earn more than most liberal arts majors leaving a university. Master craftspeople can easily earn more than those who have a Ph.D.

• Once you become a skilled craftsperson and you have your own tools, you become recession proof. Sure, the economy could falter and building slow down again. However, skilled craftspeople can always find work doing repairs for homeowners and businesses. If you have the skills, tools and ambition — you can always find work to put food on the table.

• No student debt is required. The high school construction academies are free, Lake Tech is stunningly affordable and many companies offer scholarships for training. There is over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, which will bury a generation. The tradespeople will be the ones buying homes and fixing them up in the future because they will make more money and have less debt.

Click here for the full article by the Daily Commercial.

 

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