Hometown Habitat News

Romac Match

 

RoMac Lumber and Supply’s Match for March continues in 2019 with an unprecedented offer; in the month of March all donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000 and will benefit the Youth Construction Academy of Leesburg. Those interested in donating during the Match period can do so by going to www.habitatls.org/give or by mail to 900 Main Street, Ste 210, The Villages, FL, 32159.

Leesburg High School students will begin their Youth Construction Academy program in August 2019. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter, selected students will get the hands-on training of building a home from the ground up. Students who have entered the Youth Construction Academy in their Junior year will learn safety standards, plan reading, basic rough carpentry and framing; along with many other subjects that are necessary in the construction field.

During their Senior year, the students will take what they’ve learned in the classroom and spend a daily class period at a live construction site. Hands-on training of the techniques and safety standards previously learned will be applied as students practice concept reinforcement and acquire a certificate of completion that can be used when pursuing higher education or entering the workforce. By the end of the student’s senior year they will have the finished product of their labor standing in front of them, a brand new affordable home.  Students will be invited to join the dedication ceremony, meeting the Habitat family that they built this home for.

“Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Lumber, has been a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter and our mission of providing housing for all.  As the president of the construction academy advisory board at Leesburg High School he is eager to invest in the students,” says Danielle Stroud, Director of Development.  “The construction advisory board wants this program to be the best in the state…so we are going to work to ensure that is a reality.”

RoMac’s Match is a limited time opportunity to double your impact for double the cause! Build a safe, affordable home in the community and invest in skillful education for our students, while building foundations in the community that will benefit home ownership and the future of our workforce for years to come.

 

Habitat Village in Tavares to Feature Small Homes for Seniors

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.”

Click here for the full article

Seeking Applicants for Homeownership Program

Academy Students Get Hands On

Surviving Hurricane, Habitat Houses Offer Lessons

A Fresh Outlook

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.

 

By Lauren Lester

Affordable Housing Part 4: B is for Baloney: The Myth-ing Information Problem

B is for Baloney: The Myth-ing Information Problem

 

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when a young couple talks about finding affordable housing? What about when a politician talks about it? Or a non-profit?

Lots of myths and mis-information about affordable housing affect our understanding of it. Here are some of the highlights from a Community Housing Partners fact sheet, Affordable Housing Facts . (Similar sources are linked at the end of this article.)

 

  1. It’s ugly: In the past, this was probably true, but the laws have changed. Affordable housing has to fit the community character in size and style, and it has to meet the same building restrictions and design standards as market-rate housing. If government funding is involved, then construction might have even more restrictions or higher standards. What makes it ‘affordable’ is the financing of the construction and/or the mortgage.
  2. It increases crime: According the CHP fact sheet, “There is no correlation between safe, decent and affordable housing and crime. Studies show that what does cause crime (and a host of other socio-economic ills) is community disinvestment, overcrowding, and a lack of jobs and community services. Failure to build affordable housing leads to slum conditions of overcrowding, absentee owners and deteriorating properties with no alternatives available to low-income families…Careful screening, proper management, and security measures help assure that illegal activities do not take place and that, if they do, they are dealt with swiftly and decisively. Most affordable housing residents want nothing more than to become part of the quiet, peaceful life of the surrounding community. They have sought out affordable housing so that they can live independent, self-sufficient lives.”
  3. It isn’t an asset to the community: The opposite is true. Affordable housing “enables low-paid workers and others to avoid homelessness…avoid the need for public benefits…enables individuals to stabilize their lives so they can pursue jobs, access needed services, and deal effectively with any problems they may have…Availability of affordable housing enables the city to attract and to retain employers who require affordable housing for their lower level employees…also reduces the stress on other government-provided social services.”

 

Other sources note another common myth: “I don’t know anyone who needs affordable housing.” Actually, you probably know at least one and maybe even several. Let’s go back to the definition of ‘affordable,’ which is that no more than 30% of gross household income is spent on rent/utilities or, in the case of home ownership, PITI (principle, interest, taxes, and insurance).

Look at the chart below; if you’re earning $10 per hour, on a 40 hour week, a 4 week month, an affordable rent or mortgage situation would mean paying no more than $480 per month. This is at an annual income of $19,200.  Another way to look at this is to look at the monthly rent column; for example, it’s very common to see a 2 bedroom apartment renting for $1200+ per month. To keep that ‘affordable’ you’d have to be earning $48,000 per year.

Hourly Wage

Weekly gross income @ 40 hours Income working 4 weeks per month Affordable Monthly Housing Expense Annual Income required:

40

4

30%

 $8.25

 $330  $1,320  $396

 $15,840

 $10.00

 $400

 $1,600  $480

 $19,200

 $15.00

 $600  $2,400  $720

 $28,800

 $25.00

 $1,000  $4,000  $1,200

 $48,000

 $30.00  $1,200  $4,800  $1,440

 $57,600

 

Any guesses as to a typical income in your company? Your church? Your community? Do you know what the median hourly wage is for your area? The median rent? Once we look at housing costs from the perspective of hourly or annual income, we learn a few things…and we’d be surprised at who we know or who we’re near who needs affordable housing options.

To better understand this way of looking at the issue, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) calculates what they call “The Housing Wage.” This number illustrates what hourly wage you’d have to earn to afford the typical rent based on where you live. For 2018, Florida has the 16th highest housing wage requirement in the entire country. Any guesses at to what you’d have to earn per hour to afford a typical 2 bedroom rental home in the state? Or if you’re earning minimum wage, how many hours you’d have to work each week to meet that ‘affordable’ number?  I double dog dare you to find out!


Your turn: If you’re up for the double-dog dare, go to the NLIHC site and see what hourly wage is required to afford (pay less than 30% of household income) rent/PITI in various locations. You can even drill down by zip code.

We encourage you to talk about this with everyone you know. Why? Because there’s someone out there who needs this information…and feel free to send them our way if they’re looking for an affordable home to buy in Lake or Sumter Counties. Let’s get the word out about making housing affordable!

And don’t forget to share your discoveries with us on social media.

Facebook     Instagram     Twitter

Additional resources:

https://www.abodo.com/blog/heavy-housing-burden/

https://www.abodo.com/blog/renter-cost-burdens-by-generation/

http://www.shimberg.ufl.edu/publications/FL_2017_RMS_fact_sheet.pdf  (Florida specific info)

Students experience building firsthand

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.

Click here for the full article!

Lake County students continue building home

 – A Lake County class has high school students building a home with their own hands.

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.

World Habitat Day

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!
1. Share!     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.

3. Donate!

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!

Donate Here