Hometown Habitat News

Going with the Flow

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.

By David Larrick

Hurricane Prep Tips

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.

Make sure your home, your family, and your pets are safe and secure- Be Habitat-Ready and use this Hurricane Preparedness Guide!

BEFORE A HURRICANE

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

Sumter Habitat homes are a blueprint for Tavares cottages

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.

Click here to read the full article written by By Linda Florea / Correspondent of the Daily Commercial

VHS seniors build family’s first home

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.”

 

Lake County inmates build Habitat for Humanity home

 – 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.

On the job site they’re learning new skills.

Click here for the full article!

By Amanda McKenzie

Sheriff and Habitat offer construction academy for inmates

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.

By Payne Ray pray@dailycommercial.com

Click here for the full article and pictures.

Lake County Inmates Help Build Habitat for Humanity Homes

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.

By David DeJohn

Click here for the full article and video

Inmate Construction Academy created to build Habitat homes, help Lake County Jail inmates learn skills

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.

Read the full article written by Martin E. Comas – Contact Report – Orlando Sentinel

Lake County inmates to help construct Habitat for Humanity homes

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.

By: Myrt Price

First Presbyterian Church Sponsors Coleman “Cottage Home”

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.