Joyce Tohill cuts the ribbon for the breaking ground of her new home. Habitat for Humanity staff, members of Habitat for Humanity Lake Sumter The Villages Club, Tohill and her family gather together to celebrate.
Andrea Davis, Daily Sun
Joyce Tohill broke into tears as she walked up to the site where her new home was to be built.
This would be the first home the Tavares resident has owned, and it’s all thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Lake Sumter The Villages Club.
On Friday, club members gathered with Tohill’s family, and Habitat for Humanity staff at the location in Fruitland Park, where the home is going to be built, to celebrate breaking ground. When Tohill arrived, she was immediately overwhelmed by the support of everyone present.
“I’ve assisted with The Women’s Build for Habitat of Humanity,” she said. “But it’s different when you are the one receiving the home.”
After a ribbon-cutting, members celebrated with cake, muffins, juice and coffee and began discussing plans for the build.
“This is the first new build for the club,” said Sally Read, co-president for Habitat for Humanity The Villages Club.
“We are really excited and we will be doing all the decorating for the house as well. The Dream Team consists of several of the guys, and they will act as managers throughout the build so we thought it was the least us ladies in the club could do,” said Read, of the Village of Tall Trees.
Kevin Tucker, president of Habitat for Humanity The Villages Club, said everything was on track.
“The concrete will be poured Monday, and we can get started on the build by Wednesday or the following Monday,” he said. “We are so thankful we are able to provide a home for this family.”
Danielle Stroud, senior director of programs and partnership for Habitat for Humanity, said she was thankful to work with each family that benefits from the group.
“Four out of 10 families make under $30,000 a year,” she said. “So when these volunteers are out swinging hammers, they are the voices making a difference for our local families. I am so thankful Joyce and her family will be blessed and have a home to call their own, because they deserve it.”
Joyce Tohill, third from left, was joined by her children and grandchildren for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new house that volunteers are building for her.
The Villages Habitat for Humanity Club has dedicated its energy to construct its first home to help a single mother and her children in their time of need.
Joyce Tohill coped with homelessness and substandard housing while raising her five children. Three of her children are now adults out on their own.
Tohill’s adult daughter, Grace Ware, explained how difficult it was to find adequate housing. Her mother also had the additional worry of caring for a disabled daughter who requires that Tohill be present at all times. In order to provide for her family she became a medical transcription specialist which enabled her to work at home. The pandemic affected her income and was making it difficult to make rent payments. When she was selected to receive the first home to be constructed by The Villages Habitat Club she said it was “a miracle” and “this home is securing a future for my daughters that I am just so thankful for.”
The Villages club also presented a check for $10,000 to Danielle Stroud , senior director of development for Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, to help fund the Fruitland Park project. While this is the first house the group is building, President and club founder Kevin Tucker explained they have done a number of restoration and repair jobs in the community.
The Villages High School seniors Brock Esarey, left, Hayden Fink, center, and Tyler McLean help build a playhouse as part of the Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s Jingle Build Off 2020. Bill Mitchell, Daily Sun
The Villages High School’s Construction Management Academy will make Christmas a little brighter for the child who receives a playhouse the students built. Students participated Nov. 10 in the Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter Jingle Build-Off competition. The academy is one of the five teams entered so far, said Lacie Himes, associate development director for the Habitat Lake-Sumter. Teams may still enter Jingle Build until Monday for the best playhouse. The public may judge it online this year Dec. 5-10 at habitatls.org/jingle-build-off. Construction Management Academy teacher Bruce Haberle said he hopes students not only learned construction skills by building the playhouse, but also about giving to the community and to people who are less fortunate. Last year, the academy was one of eight teams that built 10 playhouses on site for Habitat’s Christmas Village in Tavares. This year will offer a Virtual Christmas Village. Teams have the option to build their playhouses at their own sites or on site.
The recipients of the home, Jessica Smith and her son, Otto, are introduced to the Leesburg High School Construction Academy who will be building the home for the Habitat for Humanity project in Leesburg on Monday Sept. 21 [Cindy Peterson/Correspondent] Cindy Peterson
LEESBURG — Red Apples Media premiered Habitat Academy Season 2 Friday, documenting the start of another year’s home-building project by students at Leesburg High and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter.
The Nov. 13 premiere showcased the new project to be built by 14 Leesburg High School students — known as the Dream Team — and the family who will benefit from their work. This season debuted a full month earlier than the first season, which initially aired its first episode on December 16, 2019.
The new season of the show includes updated graphics and an opening video which features clips of students working. As before, it’s hosted by the CEO of RoMac Building Supply, Don Magruder. RoMac is one of the show’s sponsors, and Magruder has been involved as a community advisor for the Leesburg High School Construction Academy for the past few years.
This season of Habitat Academy is starting off with extra ambition, and the benefit of partnerships and knowledge developed over the course of last year’s production.
“The house gets built at the rate that the house gets built,” Robertz-Schwartz said.
Season one was a couple episodes short of its projected run due to the rate the house reached its milestones, Robertz-Schwartz said. They couldn’t ask the construction team to hold off on a milestone for filming, for instance, so it was hard to capture every planned moment.
Still, with that experience under their belt, Red Apples is going in for a longer season this year.
Calling local businesses and teams to sign up to build and customize wood playhouses as a special holiday gift to children during the second annual Jingle Build-Off, a fun, team-building competition, hosted by Habitat of Humanity of Lake-Sumter.
The 2019 event was the inaugural Jingle Build-Off with First National Bank of Mount Dora winning bragging rights as the overall winner. Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty won for constructing the most creative playhouse; Florida School Nutrition Association Lake County Chapter earned the Team Spirit award; and Lowe’s won the First to Finish award. Also participating in the first build-off were BP Smith Construction, Lake County Eagles Aerie No. 4273, Data Graphics, and VoluntEARS.
“We have five spots available for the 2020 Jingle Build-Off,” says Lacie Himes, associate development director for Habitat, who notes the playhouses can be built by a team of up to 10 participants.
All of the building supplies, instructions, coaching, tools, paint, and paint supplies will be provided by Habitat. The cost for the team build is $2,500 with up to 10 participants or $1,500 for a youth build of a playhouse built by one to two adults, and up to eight youths.
Local businesses can also participate as presenting and signature sponsors of the Jingle Build-Off.
Teams can do offsite building of their playhouses at a location, date, and place of their team’s choice, or they may participate at the onsite building on Dec. 5 at The Square, 122 E. Main St., Tavares.
Joshua Fulwider, left, Abigail Stewart, center, and Jakobe Zick bring in a roof truss to be raised on a home being built for Habitat for Humanity Lake Sumter on Oct. 12 on Ann Street in Lady Lake.
George Horsford, Daily Sun
The Villages High School seniors in the Construction Management Academy are back at work building a third home for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.
“It’s a great learning experience,” said student Jace Gray, 17.
“I’ve learned so much about a house I never would have learned in any other place — so much more respect for a house,” student Abigail Stewart, 17, said.
They carried and placed roof trusses in place on the house they are building in Lady Lake for a single mother with a daughter. Last March, students were almost done building another house for Habitat when spring break was extended in an effort to thwart the spread of COVID-19. Then the state closed schools for the rest of the year while students learned online.
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter plans to break ground Oct. 16 for a new housing development in Tavares.
The Cottages at Heritage Grove is a 23-unit pocket neighborhood featuring cottage-style homes and townhomes at approximately 730 square feet. They will be the first age-qualified community, 55-plus, built by Habitat Lake-Sumter, in the area of 1406 County Drive, Tavares.
The groundbreaking for the new community comes at a time when housing affordability has risen to the forefront of conversation. In part, due to the efforts of Lake 100’s Workforce Housing Strategic Plan commissioned by locally elected officials.
Danielle Stroud, senior director of programs and partnerships at Habitat Lake-Sumter says the community will benefit those in the Central Florida area who are on a fixed income, retired, or looking to maintain affordable housing as senior citizens.
Habitat Lake-Sumter Villagers Club members put construction skills to good use for people in need.
Villager Sally Read felt a strong desire to do something productive and meaningful after her husband died two years ago. She found her calling with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter Florida.
“I knew that God had a place for me, and Habitat is what it turned out to be,” she says. “I was searching because I didn’t want to sit in my house all the time or just go out with the girls. Habitat was the answer I was looking for.”
Sally bonded with other Villagers who are just as passionate about the nonprofit organization that works in partnership with volunteers and donors to build new, affordable homes for families and individuals who demonstrate a need, and who have the ability to sustain a monthly mortgage payment.
“What I have enjoyed the most is meeting like-minded people, the camaraderie,” says Sally, a Rochester, New York native. “We help each other out. If one person doesn’t know how to do it somebody else pitches in. It’s the feeling of doing it together more than anything. There are a lot of hardworking, talented people in the group. It’s quite amazing.”
The Villages is home to “a lot of people with a construction background,” adds Kevin Tucker, a former Ontario County New York resident who is involved in preservation and repair projects for Habitat.
Kevin formed the Habitat Lake-Sumter Villagers Club in October 2019, serving as president, with Sally as treasurer and membership chair. The group began meeting the second Wednesday of each month at SeaBreeze Recreation Center.
Since the coronavirus prevented Villagers from being able to meet at recreation centers, the club has relied on Zoom meetings.
“It has been a little bit of a deterrent, but we decided a couple months ago we needed to keep the ball rolling,” Kevin says. “We are looking to grow our club and we actually have been charged with building a new home, which we will start in October, and it looks like the house will be built in Fruitland Park.”
Students from South Lake High School are working with Habitat For Humanity of Lake-Sumter to help launch a new Habitat for Humanity home in Mascotte. Monday was a big day for the local Habitat for Humanity, as well as for some future homeowners and a group of students at South Lake High School. Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter started its program of partnering with high school construction students two years ago with The Villages Charter High School. Last year they added Leesburg High to the program, and this year they have added the Construction Academy of South Lake High School. The Villages school, located in Sumter County, started its home-building project in August. But Monday was the start day for students in Lake County. Eight students were accepted to the construction team in south Lake — six boys and two girls — and most of them were on hand in Mascotte for their first day on the job site. The plan is that students will spend three days a week at the job site, and two days in the classroom.
Students from the Leesburg High School Construction Academy work on constructing a home for Habitat for Humanity in Leesburg. [Cindy Peterson/Correspondent] Cindy Peterson
LEESBURG — Leesburg construction students took their first steps into their next housing project Monday as they met with the future owner of a Habitat for Humanity home on 1501 Grove Ave. in Leesburg.
The 14 students will be building the program’s second house in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, though for each of them it is a first — students are hand-picked to be on the team from LHS construction academy seniors.
“I chose the team, so I think they’re freaking amazing,” construction academy teacher Bryan Russ said.
Russ added that he’s really confident not only in their skills, but in their ability to work as a team and to work through any conflicts, which will be key in keeping the project moving.
The project generated a great deal of excitement not only for the team, but for the new homeowner, Jessica Smith, who has already been selected by Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter this year.
She attended a small, socially distanced event to kick off the home build on Monday, where district officials gathered to encourage students and thank Habitat for Humanity of Lake and Sumter for providing the opportunity for the students to work.
Smith, along with her son Otto, will make a home out of the new house after
Leesburg students complete it.
Smith has never been a homeowner, she said, and she and Otto, who is 13, have had to move a total of 13 times since he was born. The home he was taken back to after his birth was destroyed in a tornado in 2007, and they’ve lacked stability since.
That stability is one of the things they’re looking forward to most.
“Moving around house to house, it feels good to be living in a single spot for the rest of my teenage years,” Otto said.
“We are very blessed for this opportunity,” his mother said, looking over at the framework of the house.
Smith added that she was excited to have students working on the project, and was glad that people would be using her future home to further their education.
Six future Habitat for Humanity homeowners and several volunteers will unite on Sept. 12 to finish repairs on a Mascotte house occupied by a multigenerational family.
For the future homeowners, doing exterior painting and landscaping for the Valdez family will count towards completing 200 volunteer “sweat equity” hours with Habitat as part of their journey to homeownership.
“It is a unique volunteer day that brings all of these homeowners together,” says Danielle Stroud, senior director of programs and partnerships for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “They are not only fulfilling their role as partner families with Habitat for Humanity, but they’re offering a hand-up to the Valdez family and putting the finishing touches to a critical repair project completed through Habitat’s Preservation and Repair Program.”
The Valdez family has already benefitted from receiving much-needed home repairs of a roof and air conditioning replacement. Exterior painting and some landscaping slated to take place Saturday will complete the preservation and repair work on the home.
Looking for ways to support Habitat Lake-Sumter this September? We have two fun ways that you can help families while supporting local businesses!
We are excited to announce that Habitat Lake-Sumter has been selected to be a part of the Community Bag Program at Winn-Dixie, making it easy for customers to contribute to their local community while supporting the environment.
For the entire month of September, each time a reusable Community Bag is purchased at the Winn-Dixie located at either 944 Bichara Boulevard, Lady Lake FL or 820 Old Camp Road, The Villages FL, $1 will be donated to Habitat Lake-Sumter! You can find the two colorful, reusable Community Bags with the Giving Tag on the reusable bag rack at either store. The key is to look for bags with a tag that features a blue heart with $1 on it.
We appreciate the support you give, which has allowed Habitat Lake-Sumter to maintain the work we do in our community. The Community Bag Program is a great way to continue to support our cause while working to eliminate single-use paper and plastic bags.
Imagine if each one of our supporters purchased just ONE bag! Please spread the word and pass this exciting news on your friends and family.
Maybe you’re looking for ways to support a local business and indulge in some self-care. We’ve been selected as the Charity of the Month at The Best Nail Spa: Pedicures For The People(18977 US HWY 441, Mt. Dora)
$1 Will Be Donated For Every Pedicure Done in September!
The Best Nail Spa is taking extraordinary measures to care for the health and safety of their customers, so invite a friend or two for a well-earned spa day and support Habitat’s mission to build homes, community, and hope!
The Lake County Eagles Auxiliary No. 4273 recently surprised Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter with a $10,000 grant to be used towards their upcoming building project, The Cottages at Heritage Grove.
With infrastructure slated to begin in late fall, the cottages will be Habitat Lake-Sumter’s first 55+ community in Tavares. Construction on the 23 units is set to begin early 2021, according to Lacie Himes, associate development director for Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter.
Each cottage will be around 730 square feet, feature nice green space and a community pavilion. The cottages will be styled similar to the prototype four cottages Habitat recently constructed in Coleman.
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and Lake Cares Food Pantry are partnering together with last minute touches on a newly built Eustis home for a single mom, Rachel Storey and her son, Jackson, 6.
Lake Care has made it a tradition with every Habitat family to provide a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator prior to move-in day, and on July 21, Irene O’Malley, executive director from Lake Cares, will be delivering groceries to the Storey house with some help from Habitat’s Family Service Coordinator Veronica Troxell.
“As anyone knows, moving in is time consuming and we (Lake Cares and Habitat) want to make sure the home is ready with groceries and meals that can be prepared for the coming weeks and provide stability for the homeowner,” says Lacie Himes, associate development director for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.
Rachel and her son are eager to move into their new home.
“I’m looking forward to just being with my son and having our own house to call home,” Rachel told Style in an earlier interview. The pair has been living at her parents’ Grand Island home, which they moved into when Rachel was going through a divorce.
“My parents helped me with my son, too, because he was younger at the time,” she says. “I started going back to church and it was like God was putting me back piece by piece. I’m just so thankful for everything. God led me to the right people at the right time and Habitat couldn’t have been better to work with. I am beyond grateful.”
Mount Dora Mayor Catherine T. Hoechst, Nadine Foley, a friend and representative of Nancy A. Penn Shaner Trust, and Monica Wofford, a Habitat Lake-Sumter board member, took part in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony July 7 for a new Habitat home to be built at 602 E. Jackson St., Mount Dora.
Bank of America will be the corporate sponsor for the project along with community involvement provided by bequest gifts from the Ohlsson Charitable Trust and Nancy A. Penn-Shaner Trust.
“The community involvement is stemming from individual donors who had the forethought to contribute this way,” says Lacie Lacie Himes, associate development director for Lake-Sumter Habitat.
She adds that the collaboration between Habitat and Bank of America has generated $56,000 in grants over the past several years for new home construction, preservation and repair.
Due to COVID-19, the building site on Jackson street in Mount Dora will be closed to volunteer workers. “We are slowly opening certain locations for volunteers, but we tend to gauge the response the current climate,” says Lacie.
Also before the coronavirus hit, Habitat had planned on female builders to start building a new home construction project in Leesburg, but they had to scale back fundraising and postpone the home build.
“Many awesome female leaders in our community still wanted to support local families,” says Lacie. “So, they raised funds as a group and funded two critical home repairs that had been delayed and were at risk of not happening due to lost resources because of COVID-19.”
The Lake County Eagles Auxiliary Post 4273 in Okahumpka surprised Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter with a $10,000 grant benefitting its upcoming project, The Cottages at Heritage Grove. The 23-unit pocket neighborhood in Tavares will be Habitat Lake-Sumter’s first 55-plus community.
Infrastructure work is slated to begin in the fall.
The Eagles has a long-standing history with Habitat for Humanity and were sponsors of Habitat Lake-Sumter’s original pocket neighborhood in 2016, The Umatilla Veterans Village.
In 2020, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter worked with The Villages Charter High School Construction Management Academy and the Leesburg High School Construction Academy in the construction of two Habitat for Humanity Homes in Lake County.
The home built by The Villages Charter High School Construction Management Academy students is in the Carlton Village area of Lady Lake while the home built by the Leesburg High School Construction Academy students is on North 12th Street in Leesburg. Both projects were a complete success — with the new homeowners having a home for a lifetime built by students who developed skill sets in construction for a lifetime.
The only disappointment was the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented both high schools from following the projects all the way to the end. The students missed the opportunity to finish their Habitat homes, participate in the dedication ceremonies, and receive accolades from a grateful community for a job well done, which resulted in the enhancement of each school’s program. Students in both programs have paved the way for future students and Habitat homeowners.
The 2020-2021 school year promises to be even bigger for the Habitat for Humanity Projects in Lake and Sumter Counties, as these projects are being planned for The Villages Charter High School, Leesburg High School and South Lake High School.
These projects merge public education with private partnerships to help train students for good paying jobs and careers while providing a needed home for a working family. They teach the young people in our community the important of benevolence. Honestly, these programs work because everyone wins.
Thanks to the participation of the community, school district, and private partnerships, these programs a true success. Many people want to get involved and here is how you can participate in one of these great projects.
Each high school has an Advisory Board, which bridges the partnership between the public and private sectors. These Advisory Boards are made up of educators and business-people in the construction community that meet monthly to address the needs of their high school’s program and coordinate community participation.
If you would like to participate on one of the Advisory Boards, contact Lynnea Weissman at the Lake County School District at 352-988-4876, or Rob Grant, the Principal at The Villages Charter High School, at 352-259-3777.
Ann Walls, of Virginia, tries out a couch while shopping at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Leesburg on Wednesday. Michael Johnson, Daily Sun
Two Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter ReStores are now open to the public.
On Wednesday, the Leesburg ReStore at 200 N. Lone Oak Drive and the Eustis ReStore at 710 S. Bay St. reopened after closing in March because of COVID-19. Local residents can come inside the stores again and drop off donations. Staff are wearing masks to help keep people safe.
“We’re very excited to reopen ReStores,” said Lacie Himes, assistant development director for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “They play a huge role in Habitat commissions.”
The sixth episode showed final interviews with many of those involved in the project and offered a glimpse into the future with insights into a planned second season.
LEEBSURG — The season finale of Habitat Academy, Red Apples Media’s six-episode series which followed the construction of a Habitat for Humanity house with the help of Leesburg High School students, aired last week on Lake Sumter TV.
Though part of production had to take place after social distancing guidelines were put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Red Apples Media President Marc Robertz-Schwartz said the team was extremely proud of the production, and of those who worked together to build the home.
“It really was just a phenomenal experience for everyone,” Robertz-Schwartz said.
The sixth episode showed final interviews with many of those involved in the project and offered a glimpse into the future with insights into a planned second season.
It also revealed the new homeowner, Lauren McInnes, a single mother working in healthcare and raising two children on her own. She had previously been living with her parents.
The finished Lady Lake home of a single mom of two boys was built by Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter with the help of students of the Villages High School Construction Management Academy. Michael Johnson, Daily Sun
The virtual dedication ceremony for a home that Villages High School students helped build is bittersweet for students. The volunteers and Habitat for Humanity supporters who would normally attend the dedication, including the 11 students, were all absent. “I know they’re disappointed they didn’t get to finish,” said teacher Bruce Haberle, who runs the charter school’s Construction Management Academy. His students built 80% to 85% of the three-bedroom, two-bath house for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, he said. Habitat plans virtual dedications for all five homes that volunteers built this year. Female-led households will receive the keys to their new homes in the dedications between mid-May and June.
COVID-19 caused Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter to refigure some of its house-building procedures in March and April in order to stay on course in constructing five decent, affordable houses in Lady Lake, Leesburg, Eustis, and two homes in Lake Panasoffkee.
The homes will be owned by female-led households.
Single mom Rachel Storey and her son Jackson, who turns 6 on May 14, are eager for the July 1 (or sooner) closing on their future home in Eustis. Rachel says Habitat is waiting on some back-ordered cabinets to arrive for the house and once they’re installed and she’s given the house keys, the mother and son will move into the West St. Louis Avenue neighborhood.
“I’m looking forward to just being with my son and having our own house to call home,” says Rachel. The pair has been living at her parents’ Grand Island home, which they moved into when Rachel was going through a divorce.
“My parents helped me with my son, too, because he was younger at the time,” she says. “I started going back to church and it was like God was putting me back piece by piece. I’m just so thankful for everything. God led me to the right people at the right time and Habitat couldn’t have been better to work with. I am beyond grateful.”
Rachel says Habitat is a great program for those who qualify. “They help so many people out and they have their heart in it as well. All the people who work at Habitat love their job, love what they do, and they love helping people.”
Danielle Stroud, senior director of program and partnership for Habitat, says COVID-19 curtailed community volunteers being able to work on the houses.
“We worked with subcontractors a little bit more than normally,” Danielle says. “With limited opportunities, and of course for safety purposes, we really restricted who was allowed on-site. We increased the use of sub-contractors, we reallocated some job duties, and we also had a very small select crew of really skilled volunteers that felt comfortable still coming out to help finish the projects.”
She says construction on each house was deemed essential. “We had suppliers, contractors, inspectors to line up. There are so many facets that go into construction, and thankfully we were able to make all of those pieces aligned to be able to finish the homes.”
Habitat homeowners typically do sweat equity on their homes, yet the coronavirus pandemic prevented from them being able to be at the construction sites. “So, we provided a lot of virtual engagements that they could do to still earn their equity like promote us or engage with us on social media,” adds Danielle.
John Politz, a U.S. Air Force veteran, received a new roof on March 23 from Proformance Roofing, an Owens Corning Platinum Roofing Contractor, as part of the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project. Through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Politz was selected as the recipient for the roof replacement. The Owens Corning Foundation donated roofing materials and Proformance Roofing donated the labor. The Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project is a nationwide effort to show gratitude and honor veterans who served our country and the families who support them. Since the inception of this program in 2016, more than 180 military members have received new roofs.
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 our Eustis & Leesburg ReStores have reopened starting Wednesday, June 10th and the Groveland & Wildwood ReStores will remain closed with no scheduled date for re-opening. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and cooperation. And we look forward to reopening and serving all those in the community. Construction sites are still open but are limiting spots for volunteering. 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.
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.
Candidates for Habitat for Humanity can apply on-line.
Good credit is necessary.
Household income is looked at.
People who are accepted into the program must have a willingness to partner with the program.
Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers with a good attitude and work ethic.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – As the recovery process continues in the Bahamas – safe housing remains an issue for residents and relief workers.
Inmates turning shipping containers into shelters
The containers will have bedding, electricity and air-conditioning
Work will be completed in a couple of weeks
Hurricane Dorian’s category 5 winds wiped out structures leaving many people in tents and other make-shift structures.
That’s why the people at Habitat for Humanity came up with this solution – converting shipping containers into portable homes. With the help of inmate labor, these two containers will soon have bedding, electricity, and air conditioning.
Everyone involved says it’s a definite win-win.
“Get to utilize our time, and our work, and our efforts, and knowledge, and learn a few more skills, and something that could benefit us when we get out, and benefit the people of Abacos,” Lake County Inmate James Pool said.
Habitat for Humanity says it’ll use these two units as a prototype for all future disaster relief housing.
Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 when it slammed into The Bahama’s just one month ago. As relief and rebuilding efforts slowly begin, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter decided to take action.
Kent Adcock, CEO of Habitat Lake-Sumter, has specialized in relief efforts during past disasters, Hurricane Katrina among them, so we knew major efforts would be needed to clean up and stabilize The Bahamas after being effected by a storm of this scale.
We are currently retro-fitting two shipping containers to act as housing units for relief workers on The Abaco Islands. The shipping containers will be furnished with bunk beds, air conditioning, and electricity, for the relief workers to have a place to rest and recharge.
Community partners, RoMac Building Supply, Kelley Painting, and the Inmate Construction Academy will help turn these shipping containers into temporary housing, giving on-the-ground relief workers a place to call “home” while they do the hard work of clearing debris after the destruction.
Want to help? If you have material supplies or would like to make a donation contact Lacie: (352) 483-0434 x 146 or Lacie@HabitatLS.org
Lake County Master Deputy Dave Wolniak works alongside inmates in the construction academy who are build housing units to send to the Bahamas [Cindy Sharp/Correspondent]
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter is working with local partners and inmates with the Lake Inmate Construction Academy to convert two shipping containers into temporary shelters for aid workers in the Bahamas.
EUSTIS — Working to bolster aid efforts in the Bahamas following the destruction left by Hurricane Dorian, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter has partnered again with Lake County inmates on a project meant to provide aid workers with temporary housing.
They started the project Monday with inmates enrolled in the Inmate Construction Academy and supplies donated by RoMac Building Supply. The plan, described by Habitat’s Senior Director of Development Danielle Stroud as an experiment, is to turn shipping containers into temporary housing.
“We have two shipping containers that we purchased that we’re going to turn into housing units,” said Shari Kuck, Habitat’s marketing and communications coordinator. They won’t be complex structures or offer many conveniences to aid workers, but they’ll provide air-conditioned shelter for up 16 people.
“It’s just somewhere for them to lay their heads down,” she said.
Stroud said that the experiment started to take form before Hurricane Dorian ever struck the islands to the south. Habitat CEO Kent Adcock started talks proactively among their leadership team and partners to prepare for possible aid missions in Lake County.
When the Bahamas was hit and the storm skirted Florida, they looked at the damage and thought they should try to help.
“It just turned out that a lot of people in this community have a lot of ties there,” Stroud said.
Some of their partners have homes in the Bahamas, she said, but are in a position where they are able to live without them or to rebuild them while they remain in Florida homes. Those partners wanted to focus on how to help out native Bahamians who lost a great deal more in the storm.
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Four inmates from the Lake County Jail transformed two old shipping containers into temporary housing for workers who are clearing the destruction that was left by Hurricane Dorian in the Abaco Islands.
The inmates volunteered for the project and teamed up with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter.
“It will be fully furnished with bunk beds, AC, totally off the grid. Everything they need to be a little comfortable while they’re on the island doing the good work they’re doing,” said Danielle Stroud, of Habitat for Humanity for Lake-Sumter.
Habitat for Humanity’s director of construction found the two old containers that will house 16 people on the islands. If the containers work, more could be made.
“And from there, we’ll test to see how well they work for what they’re needing, and from that, hopefully there is replication,” Stroud said.
The inmates will be back to help if more need to be made.
“This is something these guys can do to help out, to provide shelter and a safe place to sleep at night,” said Lt. John Herrel, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Not only are the inmates helping the people of the Bahamas recover, they are also rebuilding their own lives.
“They use their skill set, and they hone their skill set so that when they’re out of jail, they get a certificate with the house that they’ve donated documented on it, so we hope that will all play together to help get them employment,” Herrel said.
Habitat for Humanity said it hopes to have the containers ready to go in the next two weeks.
Leesburg High students put the shovels in the ground during groundbreaking ceremony for a joint project of Habitat for Humanity and Leesburg High School’s Construction Academy on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Students will work alongside professionals to build a home for a family in need on 12th Street in Leesburg. (Rosemarie Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
LEESBURG — A dozen Leesburg High School students will be doing more than math equations, English essays and science experiments this year. They’ll be constructing a home from the ground up, too.
The three-bedroom, two-bath home will be built near downtown Leesburg for a family in need as part of a unique partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter and Leesburg High’s Construction Academy.
Groundbreaking took place Monday at 107 N. 12th St., with a throng of state and local elected officials, business leaders and members of the community showing support for both the project and the academy. The vacant lot was donated by the city.
“This is great — the students and Leesburg High School needed it, the city of Leesburg needed it and the community needed it,” said Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Building Supply and chairman of the academy’s advisory committee.
Roughly 100 students are enrolled in the academy, and the 12 students participating in the build were chosen based on their performance and leadership in the classroom. Each was required to have at least one year of construction classes.
“They are really a great group of talented kids,” said Lynnea Weissman, project manager with the Lake County school district’s office of College and Career Readiness. “It’s an opportunity for them to give back to the community.”
During the roughly eight-month project, the students will work alongside Habitat’s construction staff and professional tradespeople. They’ll use skills they’ve learned in class to work on every phase of the build, including the foundation and framing, electricity, plumbing, windows, doors, flooring and painting.
Senior Max Acosta, who is in his third year at the academy, said he walked into the academy during his sophomore year and fell in love with the program.
“It makes me feel really good to work on a project like this,” he said. “I’ll have a well-paid job after high school, too.”
Leesburg High School Construction Academy students broke ground on a new home they’re building with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter. At the end of the build, expected in May, the students will hand off the keys to the new homeowner.
LEESBURG — As the morning sun beat down Monday on 107 N. 12th St., the once-empty city lot bustled with activity.
Dozens of Leesburg, Lake County and state business people and representatives gathered at the unassuming address behind the Sunoco gas station to witness the groundbreaking of an innovative project: a home that will be built from the ground up with the help of local students.
Ten students from the Leesburg High School Construction Academy broke ground Monday on a home they’ll spend the school year building with staff from Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter. It’s a big task, but the team thinks they can do it.
“I feel like I’m gonna get out here and bust my butt and get it done,” LHS sophomore Jacob Moore said, looking out over the freshly turned dirt.
Moore said he and his classmates — who were selected from among those who qualified for the project based on their skill and exceptional teamwork — hadn’t had much time to get to know each other or their new instructor, but there will be plenty more time once they get on the job. They expect to work four days most weeks.
The academy’s new instructor, Jim Ellwood, said he’s confident too, and he wants to see the students succeed. Ellwood, who’s spent more than 40 years in the construction industry, said it’s more important than ever that students have opportunities like the build.
“Right now there’s a huge need for skilled workers,” he said. “If we do not train these students, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
Kent Adcock, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, said a home build usually doesn’t take a full school year, but because it’s a teaching opportunity, they’ll be working slow. He predicts the students will finish it around April or May, just in time to hand off the keys to the homeowner.
“I think this will be a transformative event for the students,” Adcock said, noting that the students will get to see the finished product at the end of the year and will personally hand the keys over to the new owner.
Monday will be the official groundbreaking of a Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter home built by Leesburg High School Construction Academy students and Habitat staffers. Students will work on the project from start to finish.
The ceremony takes place on Monday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the home site, 107 North 12th St. The land for the home was donated by the city.
“This is a wonderful community project,” said Don Magruder, RoMac Building Supply CEO and academy advisory committee chairman. “We will have refreshments, a few speeches, the Leesburg High band and cheerleaders there. We are encouraging all the downtown merchants and the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce to participate with us, and we want the public to come out as well. It’s important for these students to know we support them in their efforts not only to prepare for a great career, but to also give back to their community.”
Production of the Habitat home will be a yearlong project in which students will put lessons from the previous year into practice. They’ll be working on the home from its foundations to the last coat of paint.
Students will work side-by-side with Habitat’s construction staff and professional tradespeople, many of whom plan to donate their time and resources toward the project and serve as mentors for the students.
State and local elected officials, business leaders and community residents are invited to celebrate a new partnership between Leesburg High School Construction Academy students and Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter Florida, as the two break ground on a home they will build in Leesburg for a family in need.
The ceremony takes place on Monday, Aug. 26, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the home site, 107 N. 12th Street, which was donated by the city.
“This is a wonderful community project,’’ said Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Building Supply and chairman of the academy’s advisory committee. “We will have refreshments, a few speeches, the Leesburg High band and cheerleaders there. We are encouraging all the downtown merchants and the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce to participate with us, and we want the public to come out as well. It’s important for these students to know we support them in their efforts not only to prepare for a great career but to also give back to their community.”
Production of the Habitat home will give students an opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning in class. It will be a yearlong project, during which the students will work on every phase of the house including building the foundation and framing; installing electricity, plumbing, doors, windows, sheetrock and flooring; and painting. Students will work side by side with Habitat’s construction staff and professional tradespeople, many of whom plan to donate their time and resources toward the project and serve as mentors for the students.
Students participating in the build were selected from a large pool of applicants. They were required to have taken at least one year of construction classes at Leesburg High School and demonstrated exceptional performance and leadership in their classwork. They also had to write an essay explaining why they would be a good addition to “the dream team.”
Danielle Stroud, right, senior director of development for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, gives a high-five to Michael Goodridge, a 12th-grade member of The Villages High School’s Construction Management Academy who will help build a Habitat for Humanity home on Orange Circle in Lady Lake. George Horsford, Daily Sun
Dressed in her work boots, Villages High School senior Ashley Hess looked over the patch of grass Friday where, soon, she and her classmates will build a family’s home. “This experience will help me build something from the ground up,” she said. The Villages High School seniors, who are students in the school’s Construction Management Academy, joined about 40 others for a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter on Friday for a new home on Orange Circle near Lemon Street in Lady Lake. Habitat and the academy are working together on the project to provide a new home for Brandee Shields of Ocklawaha. Shields attended the ceremony before she headed to work for The Villages Health. The mother of two boys, ages 8 and 9, is looking forward to her new home.
“I’m excited, overwhelmed and so thankful to be a part of the whole process,” she said.
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, with the help of volunteers and sponsors, builds affordable homes. The homes are sold to those who demonstrate a need and are willing to partner with the organization by performing activities such as participating in the building of their home. The home on Orange Circle marks the second that seniors in the school’s academy will work on, said Bruce Haberle, the instructor for the academy.
Last year, Haberle led about 11 seniors on the project. They worked from August until May to complete their first home. The program was such a success that Habitat and the academy decided to work together again, Haberle said.
This year, he will have five seniors working on-site during two morning class periods, and hopes to have seven more seniors in his afternoon class work on the home.
Edwin Seda, middle, is surrounded by good samaritans that put a new roof on the veteran’s home in Eustis. (Rosemarie Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
EUSTIS — Amy veteran Edwin Seda carefully navigated his way out of his home, looked up at his roof and flashed a winning smile.
The 63-year-old, who is disabled and uses a walker, had reason to be happy.
A team of workers from Tadlock Roofing in Orlando were busy installing a much-needed new roof on Seda’s Lily Pad Lane home, courtesy of the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project, a nationwide initiative that provides new roofs at no cost to veterans in need.
The Eustis project was a joint partnership between between Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Owens Corning and Tadlock, one of its platinum contractors.
“I’m very grateful,” said Seda, a multi-lingual West Point graduate who spent the majority of his 20-year military career overseas working in intelligence in Egypt, Greece, Italy and Poland.
“These guys, the companies that are doing this they are the best,” he said. “It makes me want to cry.”
The new $11,000 roof, which can withstand winds up to 130 mph, was installed July 29 and couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
His 20-year old roof was in such bad condition that his insurance company had been recently threatening to cancel his homeowner’s policy if he didn’t replace it soon. He called Tadlock for a quote.
The outlook was bleak. Saddled with a mountain of medical bills due to injuries he received while serving his country, and limited finances, Seda couldn’t muster the funds needed to pay for a new roof.
Tadlock had other plans.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said the Washington State native, who moved to Eustis five years ago from Orlando. “They found out I was a veteran and said they could help me.”
Tadlock contacted the Roof Deployment project, which then contacted Habitat. The nonprofit vetted Seda, and soon after plans for a free new roof for the veteran were put into play.
Veteran Edwin Seda poses with Thomas Catalano, Tadlock Branch Manager – Orlando at his home in Eustis
Owens Corning Platinum Contractors are working with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter to provide new roofs to veterans in need and their families as part of the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project.
Veteran Edwin Seda will receive a new roof from Tadlock Roofing, an Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Contractor. This nationwide effort is a way to show gratitude and honor the veterans who served our country and the families who support them. Since the inception of the Owens Corning National Roof Deployment Project in 2016, more than 140 military members have received new roofs.
“We’re honored to continue to participate in the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project,” said Dale Tadlock, Owner and President, Tadlock Roofing, Inc. “Mr. Seda is a true inspiration and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to install a new roof on his home after all that he has been through in service to our country.”
Owens Corning Roofing and its network of independent Platinum Contractors, along with support from the Owens Corning Foundation, are donating roofing materials and labor to replace roofing shingles on the homes of military veterans and their families throughout the country. Through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Edwin Seda was selected and approved as the recipient for the roof replacement.
“Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter is dedicated to serving our local communities,” said Kent Adcock, CEO at Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “We rely on great partners like Owens Corning and Tadlock Roofing to make moments like this possible for such a deserving veteran living among us.”
For more information on the Roof Deployment Project, or to learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.RoofDeploymentProject.com.
Instructor Dan McCauley helps Leesburg High School Construction Academy student Austin Marshall with plumbing on a project in 2018. [Daily Commercial file]
The upcoming school year for the Leesburg High School Construction Academy promises to be exciting, challenging and very rewarding as the students are partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter to build a home for a local family. The home will be constructed at 107 North 12th Street in Leesburg, which is just off Main Street and close to First Baptist Church of Leesburg. Although the owners o
f the home have not been determined by Habitat, the approval process should be completed by the group in early fall.
“Habitat for Humanity is a hand up, not a handout,” said Kent Adcock, president and CEO of Habitat, adding that the group has a qualification process that requires “sweat equity” homeownership for each project.
The Construction Academy’s Habitat project is a community project that is truly a collaborative effort.
The revamped Construction Academy was one of the top priorities of incoming Lake County Schools Superintendent Diane Kornegay, who mustered the construction industry to support an $866,000 grant from the state of Florida. Through the efforts of Kornegay and the Lake County School Board, LHS received the grant last summer. Lynnea Weissman, grant project manager for Career and College Readiness, was tasked by Lake County Schools to develop the construction program and institute Kornegay’s vision.
A great deal of the success of the project is owed to State Rep. Jennifer Sullivan and State Sen. Dennis Baxley, who championed the grant in the Florida Legislature.
Weissman assembled an advisory board of local leaders who committed to the program’s success by meeting monthly to help develop a career pathway for students in the construction trades. The board brought real world construction expertise to the academy and helps with mentorships, training, demonstrations and the development of soft skills needed for employment. The board also assisted in setting up the first Academy of Construction Technologies (ACT), which allows member construction companies to hire students for summer paid internships. Students in the LHS Construction Academy now have the opportunity to work in real construction jobs at very attractive pay rates. Plus, these students are seeing firsthand the lucrative jobs offered in the building trades.
Inmates learn construction skills, build for Habitat for Humanity
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Jared Hainey has been in the Lake County Jail for nine months for drug possession.
But he spends his days outside of his cell, in the fresh air under sunny skies. He spends six and a half hours a day on construction sites, building houses for Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s nice to come out here because you get away from being enclosed in a cage,” Hainey said. “And you get to come out and learn new things, see new people.”
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Fred Jones said Hainey volunteered, like all inmates participating in the Lake County Jail’s home building program.
“They have to want to do it, we don’t force them to do anything,” Jones said. “They’re staying focused, they get up early in the morning, our thought process is they’re going to take that same thought process when they leave here and go out there and get a job.”
Jones said all of the inmates participating in construction are low-risk inmates who’ve been vetted. All of them are supervised on all on the construction sites.
Hainey said his plan is to get a job in construction when he gets out jail.
“I learned a lot more about the building process, like right now we’re framing and decking and putting trusses on, stuff I have never done,” Hainey said. “Before you get out, you already have that foot up that you’re going to be working. And you’re already stepping forward and being productive in society and working already.”
Jones said inmates often reoffend when they are released because they don’t have a job, they don’t have skills and they don’t have motivation.
“What I see a lot of time is people get into trouble because they don’t have that sense of purpose,” Jones said. “I think this gives them some of that.”
Owens Corning representatives Frank Compagnone and Travis Foster, along with Tadlock Orlando branch manager Thomas Catalano (right) present Edwin Seda (center) with a certificate for a new roof and extended warranty [Cindy Sharp/Correspondent]
EUSTIS — Veteran Edwin Seda, 63, woke up Monday morning to the sound of banging on his roof. With a sigh of relief, he knew it was the day some of his troubles would come to an end.
Seda was chosen as the recipient of the Owens Corning National Roof Deployment Project, which works with Tadlock Roofing and Habitat for Humanity in granting new roofs to veterans in need.
“It makes me feel like crying,” Seda said. “But a good soldier never cries. I’m so thankful for good people like this.”
Seda served 20 years in Army intelligence, retiring in 1995. Because of his extensive training, two years ago he was asked to come out of retirement to help train Air Force pilots on A-10 Warthog aircraft.
However, a terrible accident occurred during training and his plane plummeted to the ground. He spent nine months in a coma. He broke a hip and a knee, and the visor from his helmet lodged into his skull.
“When I woke up, all I could think of was, ‘What the hell happened?’ ” Seda said.
Seda remembers another plane hitting the top of his canopy and him trying to remove the seat belt, but he doesn’t remember ever deploying the parachute.
“Obviously I did or I wouldn’t be alive,” he said. “But I don’t remember much after being hit.”
Since then, his medical bills have been piling up, even on top of his insurance coverage. To top it off, his home insurance company was pushing him to get a new roof or he would lose coverage.
He reached out to Tadlock Roofing for a quote, but they had another idea: Tadlock reached out to Owens Corning about their deployment project, then Habitat for Humanity to see what could be done.
By Cindy Sharp / Correspondent of The Daily Commercial
EUSTIS, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) – This 20-year-old roof has withstood the test of time and Mother Nature, but with threats from the insurance company to drop the homeowners coverage, it was time to replace it.
The timing couldn’t have been worse for retired veteran Edwin J. Sera, who served 20 years in the Army.
“I would do it again if I have the chance,” Seda said.
Just like his roof, his condition makes it difficult for him to keep going, but with help from a physical therapist and a walker, he persists.
“I broke my hip twice,” he said. “I broke my knee three times. And I have more bills than what I can afford.”
When he met with Tadlock roofing, the consultant knew he needed to help him in his time of need.
“Our consultant after meeting with him was so touched by his story and just who he was and his personality that we really wanted to dig in and see if there was a way to help him,” said Thomas Catalano, the branch manager at Tadlock Roofing.
Three newly built cottage-style homes in Coleman, including this one at 6702 Winkles St., will be dedicated Saturday by Habitat of Lake-Sumter before the keys are turned over to the new homeowners: Eddie Broglin, Kaylei and David Tranor, and Gennivieve Sprague.
“These are the first cottage-model homes we have ever built and dedicated; the first type of small trial homes,” says Danielle Stroud, director of development, for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida.
She says the 2 bedroom/1 bath homes of about 700 square feet each were designed for smaller families entering the housing market or those seeking to downsize.
“There is a huge interest and need for more smaller, entry-level homes,” Danielle says. “And when you think about the trends in housing, bigger homes have gone by the wayside. A lot of folks cannot buy that big for their first-time home.”
Danielle says the three cottages in Coleman are half the size of the cottage-style houses Habitat built in Veterans Village in Umatilla.
Saturday’s dedication will feature a gathering of volunteers, sponsors, the homeowners’ loved-ones, along with local dignitaries, including Congressman Daniel Webster, a strong supporter of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. The congressman also spent time volunteering to build one of the houses being dedicated.
On June 7 2019, Mr Handyman Serving Ocala to West Apopka had the privilege of working side by side with members of the Rotary Club and Habitat for Humanity. We helped to do repairs on a home in Wildwood FL. It was an honor to be able to give back in our community and we thank the nice folks from Habitat and the Rotary for the opportunity. We encourage EVERYONE to get involved in your community and offer a helping hand where ever and when ever you can!
It sounds a bit like the ending of a bad joke to say that a plumber and his wife, who work for an HVAC company, just “go with the flow” but in the case of David and Kaylei, their journey with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter has been a ride along the path of least resistance.
David describes their current apartment complex as livable but dilapidated which prompted the hard-working couple to ponder their options. A suggestion from one of David’s coworkers, who had previous experience with Habitat for Humanity, put the organization on David and Kaylei’s radar.
David, who has a very laid-back approach to most everything, said he was actually worried that they wouldn’t qualify for any of the programs offered by Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter because both him and his wife, Kaylei, work full-time. However, Habitat’s mission to provide affordable housing and access to home ownership, to bridge the income gap and meet the needs of each Habitat family—was the opportunity David and Kaylei were looking for.
Though David and Kaylei both work in the construction industry, he says they haven’t been able to use their trade knowledge or skills on the build site just yet; but he says Habitat has been great to work with, finding opportunities for the couple to put in their “sweat equity” in other ways. For example, David says they’ve “done phone interviews, written thank you cards and basically anything else” Habitat needs extra hands and time to accomplish.
David described the small collection of houses in Coleman, FL, where the couple’s cottage style house is being built, as unique because it’s not part of larger neighborhood or development and is in a fairly rural setting. The Tranor’s two-bedroom home is scheduled to be completed in June and is perfect for the young family which he says is just him, his wife, and their dog but also pointed out that it gives them a little room to grow.
For now, the extra space gives them a place to enjoy some of their hobbies. And David says they have extended family within walking distance of their new home, “We haven’t really discussed having a house warming party,” says David. “But we have discussed what kind of traditions we might want to start in our new home.” Though they haven’t settled on anything just yet, David believes they’ll develop some traditions that are unique to them.
Perhaps David and his wife Kaylei carry a tradition or two for their family already: the hard work and humble expectations that are leading them to the beginning of a great future, one that Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter is proud to contribute to.
Hurricane Season is upon us; it officially runs from June 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 and though the storm season has already begun, it’s not too late to prepare! Rather than waiting for a hurricane to develop, now is the time to start making plans and gathering supplies.
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
Stock up on supplies and have a communication and evacuation plan in place.
Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8″ marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will help reduce roof damage.
Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
DURING A HURRICANE
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
Listen to the radio or TV for information.
Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
Turn off propane tanks. Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
If you feel you are in danger.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object
COLEMAN — The finishing touches are being put on four cottage-style homes Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter is building in the quiet community of Coleman.
The homes, each about 700 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom, are Habitat’s first try at the new housing design, which serves as a precursor to Habitat’s upcoming Tavares Cottage Community.
The Tavares community will be the first age-restricted community Habitat is building in Lake County and will feature 23 cottage homes of approximately 730 square feet — some free standing and others as townhomes.
Danielle Stroud, director of development for Habitat of Lake-Sumter, said they are working on finalizing funding and getting an environmental review in the Tavares community. They are hoping infrastructure construction will begin by the end of summer, with building starting by the first of the year.
The cottage homes are expected to be a good fit for seniors trying to downsize or who are being squeezed out of the rental market. The homes in Tavares will be designed around a shared open space.
Swayde Farring, left, a senior at The Villages High School, hugs Jasmine Jacobs, center, of Lady Lake, as her daughter, Carmen, 6, stands by during the dedication of their new home Friday in Lady Lake. It’s the first home VHS students have built through the school’s construction management academy. Bill Mitchell, Daily Sun
Jasmine Jacobs held tightly to her 6-year-old daughter’s hand as they walked up to their new home together. Awaiting their arrival were some of the people who helped her become a first-time homeowner, including 11 seniors from the construction management academy at The Villages High School. The young builders stood proudly outside the brand-new home on Winners Circle in Lady Lake as it glistened in the sunlight Friday morning. For the first time, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter partnered with The Villages Charter School to build the house. Construction started in August, with the students working several days a week until it was completed.
“They were able to hone their construction skills and get a realistic feel for the business,” said Bruce Haberle, instructor of the construction management academy. “It’s a team-building experience where they were able to give back to those who are less fortunate.”
Habitat for Humanity, a housing organization that works with communities across the nation, chooses its recipients through a first-come, first-qualified process.
Jacobs, a retail store manager, learned she had been selected after going through several steps for approval.
“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “I was like, ‘Is this really happening?’ But now that we’re at the tail end of it, I’m just so excited.”
The families chosen by Habitat for Humanity are required to contribute 200 hours of sweat equity, which means they take part in the building process.
Jacobs helped by greeting and thanking volunteers and donors, and she also took financial-education courses, credit counseling and first-time homebuyer courses.
“I got to help do the outside, and I did some caulking, painting and flooring,” she said. “I had no idea what I was doing, but the kids from school were very nice and helped me out.”
She said she enjoyed working with the students because they brought some lively energy to the site.
“They were loud and funny, making jokes and blasting music,” she said. “They made it fun.”
This is the first home students have built through the academy, which launched last school year.
“It’s been amazing, and they’ve done a great job,” said Danielle Stroud, director of development for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “We really hope they learned something along the way, which is the purpose of this partnership.”
EUSTIS, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) – Lake County inmates are working together it build a home with Habitat for Humanity. At the same time they’re learning valuable skills to take with them after serving time.
Jared Hainey is one of the first to take part in the Inmate Construction Academy.
“It’s really nice,” Hainey said. “We get to learn new skills and do stuff and we also get to give back to the community.”
Hainey and the other jail inmates are all low-level non-violent offenders who found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“Poor choices,” Hainey said about the crimes he committed. “Possession. Made a poor choice to decide to possess something I wasn’t supposed to have and I’ve grown from it and learned from it.”
Now he’s getting a second chance to make something right.
“You see a lot of people end up there because they don’t have a purpose — and this gives them a purpose,” Sgt. Fred Jones with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
TAVARES — Hoping to build on the success of the Inmate Sewing and Textile Program introduced almost two years ago, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office has launched the Inmate Construction Academy.
The academy, like the textile program, is a vocational program for inmates that tracks their work hours and documents their skills so they can move into well-paying jobs after serving time.
“I keep track of their hours they put in, and when they get released they’ll get a certificate with those hours on it,” said Master Deputy Dave Wolniak, who supervises the inmates. “So they can put that in their resume with their application to a company and have something on paper that says this is what we did, this is how many hours I did.”
The inmates started working in early April with Habitat for Humanity, which provides work sites, tools, materials and inspections for the projects, said Capt. Mike Fayette.
The first project they’ve been assigned is a house in Eustis, and in their first week they were learning to do plumbing. Danielle Stroud, Habitat’s director of development, said the inmates would be taking that house from start to finish, occasionally switching projects during ongoing inspections.
Wolniak said the inmates learn from each other and from Habitat personnel. One inmate had worked in plumbing 20 years ago and was rediscovering the trade. He helped other inmates keep up with the work even as they had just learned it.
The plumbers were fairly impressed, Wolniak said, and indicated he’d be willing to hire people out of the program after their release.
Sgt. Fred Jones said that’s the end-game. The Textile Program currently has a few relationships like that. Women can approach local textile companies and be open about their past without worrying it will cost them a job because of solid relationships between the programs and local business.
Jones also pointed out the savings that come from operating the programs. He said the women make bed sheets for the jail as well as uniforms, event T-shirts and a variety of other items. They also laser engrave plaques for the county now.
Deputies can also save on dry cleaning costs if they hand their uniforms over to the program for pressing.
Jones said other agencies have started reaching out to them for advice about starting up their own programs.
Wolniak said that prior to the Construction Academy, he worked with four inmates at a time on small construction projects. The goal there was also to save money while renovating or repairing county buildings, including the outreach center the Sheriff’s Office operates at Lake Square Mall.
EUSTIS, Fla. — Normally volunteers are called upon to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, but there’s a new program in Lake County that allows inmates to do the labor instead.
Lake County inmates for building homes for Habitat for Humanity
It’s through the Sheriff’s Office’s ‘Inmate Construction Academy’
Inmates get one day taken off sentence for every three days worked
Inmate Jared Hainey was convicted of possession, but today he possesses the ability to prepare for the future by learning how to construct homes side-by-side with professional home builders.
“(You’re) coming outside and being out in the community, seeing people and experiencing things to learn more toward a trade. And the freedom of being outside the jail is nice also,” Hainey said.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office calls the program the “Inmate Construction Academy”. It’s for non-violent, low-level offenders. There are five inmates for every one deputy.
“Make sure their charges are low enough to work outside the building, and see if this is something that they can do,” said Deputy David Wolniak with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The project is to lay down a concrete foundation. Inmates get one day taken off their sentence for every three days worked. In return, Habitat for Humanity gets free labor to build a brand new house for a family in need.
“It’s about learning and having opportunity after they get out of jail, as well as while they are in jail, giving back to the community,” said Danielle Stroud with Lake-Sumter Habitat for Humanity.
Chad Johnson, left, and Jared Hainey, inmates at the Lake County Jail, dig ditches that will be used to install plumbing for a home under construction by Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. (Martin E. Comas/Orlando Sentinel)
When Carlos Angulo leaves the Lake County Jail as a free man in the coming months, he will carry with him newly-learned construction skills — including painting, plumbing and flooring — that he hopes will land him a job.
But more importantly, Angulo said, he helped build an affordable home for a family in need while learning those skills.
Angulo, 20, is among half a dozen Lake County inmates who have started building a home on West St. Louis Drive in Eustis for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter as part of the new Inmate Construction Academy, a jail work-release partnership with the Sheriff’s Office comparable to other efforts around the country.
“I like doing this kind of work,” Angulo said Wednesday as he took a break. “I hope to eventually get a job in the construction industry with the skills I’ve learned….And it gets me out of the jail.”
He and the other inmates were installing water and sewer lines on the home site before the concrete for the foundation is poured in the coming days. The three-bedroom, two-bathoom home should be completed in about six months.
Using inmates to build homes for Habitat for Humanity has been successfully implemented for years in other parts of the country as a way to reduce recidivism.
In 2015, the Habitat for Humanity Capital District and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office in upstate New York launched a similar jail work-release program.
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – The Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday that inmates will now be working to help build Habitat for Humanity houses.
Inmates will be able to leave jail and head out into the community to help on the project. Officials hope that the inmates will learn skills that will help them once they are released so that they won’t end up back behind bars.
The program, Inmate Construction Academy, was launched Monday at a site in Eustis.
“They’ll learn how to build a house, from start to finish,” said Danielle Stroud of Habitat for Humanity. “They will be part of the process the entire way.”
Officials said only a select bunch of inmates will get the chance to be a part of the program.
The sheriff’s office is hoping this program is as successful as the one launched last year that helped female inmates learn to sew.
Habitat for Humanity officials said they always need volunteers, but the inmates will be extra help on top of what they already have.
Unlike other Habitat for Humanity sites, the one where inmates will be working will be closed to other volunteers.
The First Presbyterian Church of Leesburg receives “Sponsor of the Month” in recognition of their decade’s long partnership with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter and their sponsorship of a Cottage Home in Coleman, FL. The church will not only provide financial support, but also volunteer hours and hands-on labor to assist in building the home.
First Presbyterian Church of Leesburg has a long standing history with Habitat for Humanity and an established presence of charitable giving within the community; the church assisted with building one of the very first Habitat homes in the Lake-Sumter area in the late 1980’s. Pastor RJ Leek of First Presbyterian of Leesburg says of their continued support, “We are thankful for the opportunity God has given us through Habitat for Humanity to be a visible witness to God’s love for people everywhere.”
The cottage home being sponsored by First Presbyterian Church of Leesburg is one of four homes being built on the Coleman site and is part of a new and innovative floor plan for Habitat of Lake-Sumter. In an effort to match the specific needs of the community Habitat serves, we have designed a 2 bedroom/1 bath home at approximately 700 sq. ft. for smaller families who find rental properties and traditional home ownership to be beyond their reach.
The cottage homes in Coleman are Habitat of Lake-Sumter’s first try at this new housing design. The smaller scale 4 cottage home site is a precursor to Habitat’s upcoming Tavares Cottage Community. Thanks to Lake County’s award of Community Development Block Grant funds, Habitat will begin infrastructure of the development soon; including roadways, water and underground utilities, and will prepare the community for phase two: cottage construction.
Setting new precedents, the Tavares Cottage Community will be the first age-restricted community built in this area through Habitat of Lake-Sumter and will benefit residents who are on a fixed income, retired, or looking to maintain affordable housing as senior citizens. The ‘pocket neighborhood’ will feature 23 cottage-sized homes approximately 730 sq. ft. Some of the units are free standing homes with others designed in a townhome style, and a large central area with open green space for all residents to share. The master planned community will include similar design elements to Habitat of Lake-Sumter’s Veterans Village in Umatilla.
To learn more about First Presbyterian Church of Leesburg, the cottage homes in Coleman, or the upcoming Tavares Cottage Community please contact Danielle Stroud at 352-630-3318.
With the success of its 14-home community for veterans in Umatilla and the introduction of small cottage-style homes, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter is moving ahead with its next project — a 23-unit “pocket neighborhood” for seniors in Tavares.
The community will be built on a vacant three-acre lot near Mansfield Road and County Drive.
“The city has been extremely supportive and unanimously voted to approve the development,” said Kent Adcock, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “And they’ve been very supportive of the concept we’re trying to advance.”
At 8 AM on a quaint little street in Yalaha, there was already a block party happening. This wasn’t your traditional type of party, however; it was remarkably different. Alongside Habitat for Humanity staff, volunteers were prepared with paintbrushes, hammers, screwdrivers, and a determination to transform not one, but three homes in the neighborhood.
The grateful homeowners – Mary Bedford, Sylvia Session, and Latasha Williams – stood by anxiously as work got underway and met the strangers who donated their time to helping them out. As any gracious host would do, Mary ensured there was plenty of parking for the volunteers, while Sylvia and Latasha joined to meet and greet their guests with smiles.
The homes in need of repair or restoration had proximity in common, but the homeowners each had their individual stories to share. Mary Bedford had recently lost her husband, and was still dealing with not just the emotional burden but also by the financial burden of trying to pay off his funeral service. Her home was in need of attention; there were piles of debris that needed to be hauled off, but in the midst of losing her loved one, it seemed impossible. Even so, Mary wasn’t the type to sit back and watch. She rolled up her sleeves and, side by side with the volunteers, she got to work. Volunteers called her genuine and kind, and she thought the same of them.
Sylvia Session had recently experienced respiratory failure and become unresponsive in her living room causing her to now be dependent on an oxygen tank. Upon their arrival, paramedics had no choice but to ram down her door in order to save her. During the project assessment, Habitat knew that a new front door would be on the top of the list, along with a repair on her AC unit. The unit’s fan was continuously running but not cooling, resulting in a sweltering hot home and a 900-dollar electric bill for the month. While Sylvia had only expected for Habitat to pressure wash her home, she was elated with the new paint job and other repairs. The volunteers, she said, were full of compassion, and went over and above what she had ever imagined. “I don’t know how to say thank you,” she said, choking back tears. “I can say it a million times but it isn’t enough. Everything that’s been done, they are little things to you, but they are big things to me.”
Latasha Williams’ husband works long hours in construction to provide for their family and to take care of their 3-year-old son. They had started to work on fencing their yard in but were unable to finish due to time and financial restraints. They were reluctant to put any of their son’s toys in the yard as they felt the space wasn’t secure enough without the fence. Habitat and the volunteers made sure that they completed the fence so that the family was able to enjoy the outdoors without worry. Besides playing outside, Latasha’s son has other plans for the fenced in yard. He wants either a dinosaur or a dog, and if he gets the dinosaur, it has to be a T-Rex.
The homeowners all feel very fortunate for having this experience with Habitat for Humanity. They say it has made a drastic change in their lives to have the homes clean, painted, and repaired. Along with a sense of solidarity, the projects have spread inspiration throughout the neighborhood; other nearby residents have inquired about the application process for Habitat for Humanity and are also working on cleaning and updating their homes in order to better the community.
Kaleb Ward, left, a senior at The Villages High School, and Bruce Haberle, construction management academy instructor, work on the roof trusses on a Habitat for Humanity home under construction Thursday at Winners Circle in Lady Lake. Bill Mitchell, Daily Sun
A local family soon will have a home with the help of 11 seniors from The Villages High School.
The students are building an 1,100-square-foot house in Lady Lake through the school’s Construction Management Academy’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity, a housing organization that works with communities across the nation.
On Thursday, the roof trusses were set on the house where the students have worn hard hats and climbed ladders four days a week since the beginning of the school year.
VHS Principal Bill Zwick stood at the construction site to observe and admire their hard work.
“This gives them the total experience of building a house from beginning to end,” Zwick said. “When they graduate, they’ll have this background knowledge. It’s a learning experience that will benefit them no matter where they go in life.”
The students started building the back wall Aug. 16, and their hands will be on the house until the project is complete at the end of the school year. So far, they are on schedule.
The two-year academy launched last year, and this is the first year it has been offered to both juniors and seniors.
The juniors learn the basics of construction and go through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10-hour training, and the seniors put their skills to the test.
“It gives us a good foundation to build a career,” said senior Colby Sharp, 17.
The class works to build a home within the school year, leaving them nine more months to go. At the end of those months, the home will be turned over to Habitat for Humanity. The students will complete everything that is not mechanical, plumbing, or electric. As of Thursday morning, the foundation has been poured in and they are setting up the roof.
Students come out to build the home four days a week. Friday’s are held in the classroom.
More than 30 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly took an important step in promoting the idea that everyone deserves a decent place to live by declaring that the first Monday in October would be World Habitat Day.
Every year Habitat for Humanity joins our partners around the world to rededicate ourselves to recognizing the basic right of everyone to adequate shelter. Habitat for Humanity asks everyone to join together as one global network in communicating the message that every one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future, and that a decent place to live can remove barriers to opportunity, health, and success that might have been part of a family’s life for years, and in many cases for generations.
Our effectiveness is only as good as the people who help enact our mission – that’s you! Help us spread the word about World Habitat Day and the underlying need it’s meant to address.
Take Action Now!
Push out our World Habitat Day message on your favorite social media platform.
We may not go viral, but if we can go local then we’ve reached the community we serve and have the potential to change lives.
2. Get involved!
Our build sites always need extra hands, and Carlos is always ready to sign people up for the next project. Reach out to him at (352) 483-0434 x119 or Carlos@HabitatLS.org.
Money moves mountains, and it also builds houses for local families in need – help us increase our ability to serve by donating to your Hometown Habitat today!
Wildwood homeowners Mary and Raymond Scott say they’re thankful for the effort to refurbish their home.
In very short order, Raymond and Mary Scott’s home in Wildwood will be sporting a new coat of paint on the exterior, improved landscaping and a new window unit that runs both air conditioning and heat. That’s all thanks to Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter’s Preservation and Repair program and the large team of volunteers who showed up to do the work.
“Not everyone is aware that refurbishing homes is also part of our program, not just building new homes,” said Habitat for Humanity site supervisor Travis Wofford. “Last year we refurbished 50 homes in Lake and Sumter counties.”
A large contingent of the volunteers came from the Amigos Sports Club in The Villages.
“We’ve been around for 10 years” said Amigos Sports Club founder and president David Lindsey. “We gather to do charitable work and also party once a month.”
The club has grown and currently has a waiting list of more than a hundred people on it. Among the group’s many charitable projects is their work for Habitat for Humanity, which they have done for several years. Lindsey said that his chief duty on this project, in addition to rounding up enough volunteers, was to make sure he brought the doughnuts.
Qualifications for the Preservation and Repair program are based on income and home ownership. The Scott’s are retired and have lived in their home for 21 years. Mary retired after 30 years in custodial services with the school board. While she was driving one day, she saw a Habitat truck and a house being painted. She got out and asked questions and started the application process.
“I feel God sent me that way on that day,” she said. “This means the world to me.”
She was excited to pick out new colors for her exterior. “I wanted something brighter than the brown we had always had,” Mary said.
She decided to go with light gray and a darker gray for the trim.
“Travis helped me with the shades of the colors,” Mary said. “The thing I am most excited about is the new window unit,” she added, pointing out that the one they had “didn’t work very well and didn’t have heat.”
As one of the top 10 homebuilders in the country, Habitat for Humanity is not new to the construction world. What differentiates us here at Habitat Lake Sumter is the ways in which we adapt to the evolving needs of the community and take advantage of unique opportunities to do so. One of the ways we accomplished that was through the building of the Veterans Village in Umatilla, and the project was novel enough to catch the eye of the National Association of Homebuilders. Check out the full article here!
Every year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition releases a report that discusses the cost of living around the country. With a specific focus on rent/mortgages, the report provides a very detailed look at just how unattainable safe, affordable housing can be for so many people. We’ve included some snapshots of this report below, and the link to the entire article is here.
Across a several-part series through the rest of the year, we’ll be breaking down what this information means for us through the “ABC’s” of the issue: Affordability, Baloney, and Clarity. These articles will seek to empower our community through understanding the problem, knowing the solutions, and being confident to act on them.
Stay tuned to our social media pages as we lead into each new article with some questions for you; the answers, and how you find them, will help you better understand the depth and intricacy of the housing world and the subject matter we’ll be exploring.
Lake County, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – Kathleen Mabry says joining the U.S. Army at 32 years old, was one of the most difficult things she has ever done. It was the early 1970’s and Mabry was a single mom who needed a job. So, she turned over temporary, legal custody of her children to her best friend and shipped out for grueling basic training.”It was tough. But I was raised tough.” Mabry says. She served stateside in the Army for 6 years during the tail end of the Vietnam War. Her career ended not long after a severe injury while on duty. Decades later, she received a thank you for her service she says she never saw coming. She is one of the newest resident in the Veterans Village. It is a small Umatilla neighborhood built by Habitat for Humanity of Lake/Sumter. All of the homeowners are veterans of U.S. military service.
Students from The Villages High School Construction Management Academy will be lending a hand in the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home this fall. The project will give them the opportunity to gain firsthand experience on a job site. Bill Mitchell, Daily Sun
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter will break ground on a new home soon, but the construction crew may look a little younger than usual.
The Villages Charter School and Habitat for Humanity are teaming up through The Villages High School Construction Management Academy to give participating seniors the opportunity to gain firsthand experience on a job site.
“Part of the ramp-up was deciding what projects students would take on, because all of our academies are project based,” said Randy McDaniel, the charter school’s director of education.
VHS academies begin with an advisory board made up with professionals from that field.
“We organized a group of people to be on the construction board and began brainstorming sessions,” McDaniel said. “It was during that discussion that one of the architects mentioned Habitat for Humanity.”
Thanks to the partnership, students in the academy with an interest in construction will have the opportunity to gain real-life experience.
“It’s just like all of our academies — the closer you can make the experience to real life, the better it is going to be,” McDaniel said. “They’re going to be learning how to build a house. They will be there from the foundation to completion. That’s about as real world as you get.”
McDaniel said students will practice time management. They will learn how to meet demands and deadlines, and they will gain pride in their work and skills they learn.
“We are very excited about the opportunity for the kids and the school,” he said. “Plus, Habitat’s mission to help people become homeowners is pretty big. My hope is that it goes really well and becomes a long-running partnership.”
As instructor for the academy, Bruce Haberle will oversee the partnership.
Enzo Cosani, of Paris, France, and Travis Wofford, a construction specialist for Habitat for Humanity, work April 24 on a wheelchair ramp at a home in Summerfield. Cosani is part of the international intern program for Habitat for Humanity. Bill Mitchell, Daily Sun
SUMMERFIELD — James Collins sat in the shade on the porch of his Summerfield home and watched as two engineering students from France worked on a wooden ramp.
The addition of the ramp in April made the house more accessible for Collins and his wife, Deborah. Both have health problems that make climbing steps difficult at times.
“You can’t believe how important this ramp is for me and my wife,” James said. “I’m at a loss for words about this, and I’m never at a loss for words.”
The Collinses have lived in Summerfield for 13 years, and for most of that time they were able to make their own additions and repairs. But this time, they needed a little help.
The ramp was built as part of the Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter Florida’s Preserve and Repair program. It is just one of several ways Habitat is able to help families attain or keep affordable housing.
Since 1989, the Lake and Sumter Habitat has provided 265 homes for families in Lake and Sumter counties, said Danielle Stroud, Lake and Sumter Habitat director of development.
Stroud added that volunteers and sponsors are important elements in providing affordable housing for residents. Their donations of time, money and materials keep the costs down for new homes and repairs. The nonprofit has 4,000 volunteers who contribute 30,000 hours of volunteer labor annually.
This week, thousands of women will participate in Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week. Lowe’s Home Improvement sponsors the national event with financial and volunteer support for hundreds of programs.
Locally, Habitat is planning to serve nine families in Lake and Sumter counties this week, including in Umatilla, Wildwood, Leesburg and Mount Dora, Stroud said.
“So far, we have 50 women set to volunteer,” Stroud said. “We still have some availability, so women are welcome to reach out to us.”
Anyone interested in participating can contact the office Tuesday or Wednesday for more information at habitatls.org.
Apartment-size homes are being billed as a fresh idea for affordable-housing demands.
Aesthetically appealing, affordable, high-quality entry-level homes are in demand in Lake County, according to a local housing expert who claims the American Dream is out of reach for four out of ten families in the county.
“My purpose here is I intend to open a window,” says Kent Adcock, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, as he metaphorically paraphrased the words of Pope John Paul XXIII while recently proposing a housing concept to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners.
“Just open a window and let some new thoughts blow in, some new ideas come into our thinking,” Kent says. “We should be challenged to bring in that innovation to consider alternative models for affordable housing.”
He has discovered many millennials are increasingly eliminated from housing opportunities due to entry-level incomes.
“I am not proposing a tiny home community, which is a phenomenon that has recently developed where people live in RV-like mobile units of 125 to 250 square feet. I personally believe that there is merit in that model, but what we are talking about is real high-quality, energy-efficient, small footprint, fee-simple, apartment-sized homes (where homeowner owns house and land) built in a walkable community that is either on a slab or stem wall,” Kent says. “The key term is apartment size—400 to 700 square feet, one bedroom or two bedrooms. In the past, historically, households began meagerly with a starter home, not a 1,600-square-foot, $160,000-plus home, but an apartment-sized home.”
The concept of cottage homes would offer a smaller price point for entry-level homeowners or those looking to downsize. Kent showed the county commissioners photos of some of these smaller houses built in the North Carolina mountains that were in the $70,000 to $80,000 price range.
“There is a movement toward minimalism, especially millennials, and even people my age,” says Kent, who recently downsized to a smaller home with his wife. “We cut our house in half. It’s less maintenance, less to keep up, less cost, and I think a lot of people are beginning to recognize McMansions are not necessarily everything they are cracked up to be.”
If you thought construction in The Villages was booming — you haven’t seen anything yet.
Now, all eyes are set on training the next set of builders and craftsmen.
On Tuesday, representatives from The Villages High School’s Construction Management Academy were joined by community and business partners to officially announce a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.
Starting in August, 12th-grade students enrolled in the academy will no longer start their day in the classroom, but rather on the job site working side-by-side with volunteers to construct an anticipated 1,200-square-foot, 2-3 bedroom home.
“This gives the kids the ability to build a home from start to finish,” said Larry Green, construction management teacher at VHS and resident of the Village of Osceola Hills. “They’ll get to be a part of all the different components — from the ground substructure, all the way to the top of the roof.”
The school currently offers nine academy options to juniors and seniors, including health sciences, engineering, entrepreneurship and more.
Both agriscience and construction management were added prior to the start of the current school year, largely to accommodate growth and demand
in The Villages.
Tuesday’s partnership with the local chapter of the nonprofit organization was the result of many months of planning that included gaining building permits, negotiating with insurance providers and attracting local business partners.
“It’s going to be exciting working with these young people,” said Barry Martin, construction manager with Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, who already has secured the site for the new home off Griffin View Drive in Lady Lake.
“You know not everybody is cut out for college,” added Martin. “In construction, there’s just so many different arenas that you can go into. Each one of them all have the potential to make an excellent living, and maybe even start their own businesses one day. Being able to share with them the joy in building a home, and seeing something like this go up — it’s just going to be awesome.”
Tuesday also served as a platform to unveil a new 24-foot trailer designed by Mike Manly, owner of MiCo Customs — a Wildwood-based residential and commercial contracting service.
That unwanted sweater, tennis racket or couch could make an impact on the local community if it is donated to the right thrift shop.
And that’s not just because someone in need could buy it at an affordable price.
Many local thrift stores use proceeds to support the missions of organizations in the tri-county area. Among them, one funds equipment for The Villages Regional Hospital, another supports an organization that helps victims of domestic violence and yet another helps fund the construction of affordable homes.
These thrift stores provide good bargains to shoppers, but residents who donate, volunteer and shop in the stores are making a difference in other ways.
Each store has different items and each cause is different, but leaders of the nonprofit shops all agree that building strong relationships within the community is important to success.
Pat Wesolowski volunteers with Ye Olde Thrift Shoppe in Lady Lake and is one of the founding members of the store. She said the people make the store special.
“The growth has been amazing, but so have the friendships I’ve developed with other volunteers and our customers,” Wesolowski said. “These relationships are so important to creating a place people want to shop. They have to feel welcome.”
Ye Olde Thrift Shoppe
The store opened in 2008 in Lady Lake to help fund The Villages Regional Hospital Auxiliary Foundation and ultimately, The Villages Regional Hospital.
It started with one small building, and anotherbuilding was purchased in 2015. The store expanded and added furniture to the long list of items it sells.
Dick Campbell, president of the foundation development team, expanded on the list of traits he thinks a store should have to be successful.
“There are numerous thrift stores in the area, so we have to be unique,” Campbell said. “The staff and volunteers look for ways to present the merchandise at its best. Nothing goes on the floor dirty. The store has to be inviting — both the way it looks and the volunteers who run it.”
It does not hurt that the store is now a stop on the Lake County bus route. That definitely brings in more people, Campbell said.
Dot Casleton, of the Village De La Vista, made her regular stop at the store Wednesday morning.
“I’m here for the books,” Casleton said. “I read about three books a week, and the books here are cheap. And the selection is great.”
She also has purchased furniture and linens in the past. Casleton credited the staff’s ability to showcase the merchandise and sell only the best for bringing her back to the store regularly.
Habitat for Humanity
The Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter ReStore in Wildwood is almost always busy. Either someone is dropping off donations or numerous customers are filling shopping baskets, said Shari Kuck, program coordinator.
“The donations and ultimately, the sales, help build homes for people in need,” she said.
Representatives of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter were in Washington, D.C., this week, warning that proposed federal cuts will worsen the affordable housing crisis facing Lake and Sumter counties and other communities across the United States.
“Too many people in our communities are already struggling between making their housing payments and buying food for their family,” said Kent Adcock, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. “We are in Washington, DC, to ask our representatives on Capitol Hill to make greater investments in affordable housing, not less.”
The budget proposed by the White House this week would drastically cut—and in some cases entirely eliminate—funding that communities use to finance the development of new affordable homes. Funds from programs like the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allow access to capital for infrastructure and development, while funding from the Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) offers down payment assistance to families – ultimately allowing homes to become affordable for the families who need them.
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter joins more than 340 Habitat leaders, volunteers, and homeowners from across the country in Washington, D.C., this week to advocate for affordable housing. In meetings with Congressman Daniel Webster and Mario Diaz-Balart, Habitat for Humanity is calling on Congress to set aside the flawed budget proposal and instead work to prioritize solutions that will end the affordable housing crisis.
“There is no question that we are in an affordable housing crisis,” said Adcock. “More than 18 million families are paying more than half of their paychecks on their housing. Leaders in cities and towns across the country are sounding the alarm, because even middle-class workers like teachers can no longer find housing that fits their budgets. We will make sure those voices are heard in Washington this week as we meet with members of Congress.”
UMATILLA — Military veteran Don Marshall, 76, lived with his wife, Mae, for 14 years in an RV in this Lake County city.
“I’ve paid $47,000 over the years into the campground,” said Marshall, a retired railroad car builder who was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War. “They’d raise the rent, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Now, I’m paying to own.”
The couple recently moved into a 1,100-square-foot cottage, one of 14 in the Lake-Sumter Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Village. Averaging about $110,000, the idyllic, porch-front homes are aimed at providing quality affordable housing to low-income veterans and their widows in Lake and Sumter counties, where 45,000 military veterans reside.
But even as Habitat helps veterans become homeowners in the community off State Road 19, a state task force is recommending that more public dollars be put instead toward rentals for the thousands of people, including non-veterans, affected by the housing crisis.
CLERMONT — Personnel from the Clermont police and fire departments, as well as a large contingent of volunteers from multiple sources, painted 13 homes Friday in the Oakhurst Townhomes in Clermont’s Lincoln Park area.
Kent Adcock was flipping through a builder’s trade magazine recently when he had a “eureka” moment.
Adcock, the head of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, saw a story on small houses in the National Association of Home Builders quarterly magazine and soon envisioned pocket neighborhoods, complete with the pocket-sized houses, which could help fill the need for affordable housing.
This December we encourage you to join us in supporting our local families. Here at Habitat we are proud to partner with families offering them strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. We couldn’t do that without the generosity of our beloved volunteers and donors. Here are a few ways to give as we close out 2017…
Cars for Homes
Donating your car to Habitat allows us to use the net proceeds from the sale to build and repair affordable homes locally. This donation may qualify for a tax deduction and it’s fast and easy! To donate contact Cheryl Conner – firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-483-0434 Ext 141. Provide information such as vehicle make, model, vehicle identification number and current mileage. If your car is accepted, you can schedule your car to be picked up!
IRA Charitable Rollover
Congress made permanent the law that allows people age 70 1/2 or older who own an IRA to make cash gifts directly from their IRA to charity. For many people, this is the best tax-friendly way to give. An IRA rollover gift will not be included in your taxable income and will qualify for your required minimum distribution. Plus, it will offer a family a safe place to call home! Contact Danielle to learn more at 352-483-0434 Ext. 133.
Outright Gift of An Asset
If you wish to make a gift to support the mission of Habitat this year but are concerned about preserving your cash reserves, consider a gift of an appreciated asset. A gift of securities, business interests, or real estate can provide you with significant income and capital gains tax savings, while offering strength, stability, and self-reliance for a family in need. Contact Danielle to learn more at 352-483-0434 Ext. 133.
Zero-Tax Gift and Sale
If you are planning to sell an asset like securities, real estate, or a business, before you sell, consider a “zero-tax” charitable gift and sale. By making a gift of part of the asset before you sell, you can use a tax-saving charitable deduction to significantly lower or eliminate capital gains tax.
Donate to our ReStore
Our staff and volunteers make the donation process as simple as possible. You can always donate goods in person at one of our four locations throughout Lake or Sumter Counties or if you have a large item, just simply call our scheduling center for your free donation pick up – 352-589-3005.
Outright Gift of Cash
Want to simply join us in our mission of providing homes, community, and hope? Feel free to donate in person at anyone of our four ReStore locations, online, or by mail – 900 Main Street, Suite 210, The Villages FL 32159. Our Habitat families are grateful for your support!
It’s giving season across the nation and in The Villages.
Here, some organizations are preparing to collect their largest volume of donations.
Many local charities and nonprofits, such as Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Villages Honor Flight, and the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, hold some of their largest fundraising events this time of year.
“The majority of the individuals who give to our local Habitat chapter give from now through January,” said Danielle Stroud, director of development for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. Millions of people have come together to support and champion the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live.
We have two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On #GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back. Together, people are creating a new ritual for our annual calendar. #GivingTuesday includes people of all ethnicities, religions and backgrounds. Together, millions of people demonstrate our common capacity to give.
#GivingTuesday is a celebration of America’s greatest traditions: generosity, entrepreneurialism, community. Everyone has something to give. You can give time or expertise, monetary donations large or small, simple acts of kindness, food or clothing.
Your gift provides families with strength stability, and self-reliance through shelter.
Thanks to a generous $100,000 gift from the Home Depot Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida will join Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, Team Depot, on Saturday to celebrate Veterans Day and to continue building Veterans Village in Umatilla.
The grant allows Habitat of Lake-Sumter and volunteers to start work on the second phase of the building low-income homes for veterans.
ATLANTA (Sept. 26, 2017) — Leading affordable housing organization Habitat for Humanity is the best nonprofit in the United States for employees and volunteers, according to an inaugural ranking published by job-hunting site Indeed. Habitat secured the top spot among U.S. nonprofits based on more than 1,200 reviews from current employees, past employees and volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s Domestic Global Village (DGV), a hostel-like volunteer center in Eustis, is currently hosting 12 FEMA Corps members. The FEMA Corps members are under a 10 month contract as a specialized AmeriCorps NCCC team member and will be assisting in the area to participate in disaster response and recovery projects including: helping residents complete applications for disaster assistance; assessing and reporting damage to public facilities; educating local communities on available resources; assessing community needs and spear-heading partnerships with local nonprofits and government agencies.
(Eustis, FL) Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, in partnership with Lake Cares Food Pantry, the Cross Church, and Second Harvest Food Bank, will offer free cases of bottled water, baby supplies, and food on Monday, September 18th and Tuesday, September 19th. Local community volunteers will be onsite to assist with the distribution, excited to help residents throughout the area who are still without power.
Distribution will take place from 9AM-12PM Monday and Tuesday at 710 South Bay Street, Eustis Florida. Monday’s distribution will consist of water and baby supplies only while Tuesday’s distribution will offer food, water, and baby supplies.
The donation of water came from the Lake Geauga Habitat for Humanity out of Chardon, Ohio where the local Habitat affiliate has been accepting donations of water all week for transport to the area.
Over the next few weeks Habitat of Lake-Sumter will mobilize resources to support local community members with repairs to homes damaged by the storm. To donate or volunteer visit www.habitatls.org or call 352-483-0434.
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter will be accepting donations in support of hurricane Harvey recovery from September 6th-20th and has pledged to match the collective donations dollar for dollar up to $10,000. Community members can donate by cash, check, or credit card at any one of Habitat’s four ReStore locations, online at habitatls.org/donate-hurricane-harvey, or by calling 352-483-0434.
Free service helps low-income residents with disabilities better navigate in and out of their homes.
By SARAH WILSON, The Villages Daily Sun
For anyone making their way through life relying on the assistance of a wheelchair or walker, navigating stairs can be a struggle – especially when those stairs stand between them and the world beyond their front door.
Beulah Slaymaker, 97, was confined to her home for months earlier this year when she no longer had the strength to get out of her wheelchair and make her way down the four steps from the front porch of the Sorrento mobile home she shares with her daughter, Shirley Wencel.
Wencel had to cancel doctor appointments and switch to home health care for her mother after it became too unsafe for the pair to navigate their way down the stairs.
Then Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter stepped in.
Since January, program coordinator Shari Kuck said, Habitat has installed four ramps for disabled, low-income residents of Lake and Sumter counties at no charge to the homeowners, including one for Slaymaker in July.
Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter has been awarded a $7,000 grant from The UPS Foundation to benefit Veterans Village, the 13-home development in Umatilla.
Habitat officials say the grant will be fund accessibility features for two houses, which will include a universal design concept with custom ramps and roll-in showers for veterans who may have a physical impairment.
How often should I review my estate plan? No Estate plan is permanent. Estate plans should change as personal circumstances change. You should review your estate plan every two or three years at a minimum, or more frequently should your personal circumstances change significantly. For example, it is a good idea to review your estate plan with an attorney if you move to a different state, lose your spouse, get divorced, have additional children or grandchildren, or if your financial position changes significantly. Read the rest of this entry »
The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently released their Out of Reach 2017 – The High Cost of Housing report. Below are a few info-graphics that give us an overview of the state of housing in the U.S. If you are interested in reading the entire report or using the interactive map features to learn more specifically about Lake and Sumter Counties, please visit the LIHC’s website: www.nlihc.org/oor
Low income housing units have no effect on nearby property values, according to a new study by real estate company Trulia. The finding comes at a time when there are some concerns around affordable housing through Florida.
Some of the most common concerns around affordable housing construction are tied to home values. But this study reaffirms a body of research that undermines those fears. And it works to counteract the so-called NIMBY mindset, meaning ‘not in my backyard’. A proposed tiny house development in Fort Braden was met with similar concerns earlier this year. Florida Housing Coalition President Jaimie Ross says too many picture slums when they hear the word affordable.
“Today’s affordable housing is built by the private sector, using the tax credit program predominantly. It’s beautiful housing, it looks just like market rate housing, meaning housing that’s not affordable. Has all the same outward finishes, beautiful design,” Ross said. Read the rest of this entry »