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.
India. Portugal. Thailand. Korea. Africa. Haiti. Umatilla? You name it, and chances are the Friend’s Build team has not only been there, but built there too.
While we’re far from an exotic jungle or mountainous village, the Habitat for Humanity Friend’s Build team stops by every year and gives their time, putting in many hours towards our home builds. These passionate volunteers – who refer to themselves as the ‘Motley Crew’ – have been a consistent presence for us for the last four years. This reliability is a major boost, both for productivity and our construction crew’s morale! The Motley Crew brings quite a bit of experience with them, allowing our usual site supervisor to finally take a breath and temporarily yield the reigns to equally capable hands.
The mission of the Friend’s Build and Motley Crew is to travel the country – and often the world – to help serve as many communities as they can. The list of places they’ve been is just as diverse as their backgrounds, hailing from several states and professions. Habitat for Humanity may provide the vision and resources, but the dedication of groups like theirs is what truly gets the job done. Countless affiliates around the globe have benefited from their tireless pursuit of service, and Habitat of Lake Sumter is lucky to be included among them.
As part of Habitat’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the community, we recognize the need to engage our youth in that goal as well. To spearhead this effort, we’re starting a new initiative called the “Youth Construction Academy.” The purpose of this program is to interact with the next generation on a meaningful level. This means not just showing them what we do, but teaching them. Through the coordination of multiple groups, we’re aiming to get high school students onto an active job site to begin learning about construction science.
For our portion of this program, Habitat for Humanity of Lake Sumter will provide the job site, professional supervision, and all materials and equipment needed to build. Our extensive experience in home construction as well as our personnel and equipment will simplify the process for schools and students. This helps ensure they can focus on the educational aspects of the program while we handle the back end. In conjunction with our site supervisor, we will also have experienced volunteers working alongside the students to provide extra help and engagement.
By creating and maintaining partnerships with local schools, Habitat is able to ensure that students receive an on-site instruction that is matched in the classroom. This curriculum will cover a large range of topics relating to construction science, site safety, laws and regulations, and more. This curriculum also ensures that upon successful graduation from the program students are able to receive a recognized certificate of completion. This certificate, and the backing schools behind it, will hold weight and legitimacy with potential employers, assuring them that the student is familiar with the industry and ready to begin their career.
Habitat’s entire mission is built on the support of the community. Without it, needs are left unmet and communities are not able to grow. By not just teaching students how to build but giving them a reason to, the mission is able to carry on into future years. This program will address both community and individual needs, through home building and skills training, and the effect of both will lead to a stronger community.
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.
For many organizations, the check you write, the cash you donate, or the credit card you charge is the last you see of those funds. However, we don’t want you feeling like your donations are sent to a mysterious account with unknown results; to help ensure that doesn’t happen, we provide an annual Impact Report that details the work we’ve done and how your contributions have been put to use in the community. With various initiatives and passions among our partner base, we know it’s a reassuring and rewarding feeling knowing that your desire to help a certain program has measurable and tangible results!
Read over our report and take a look at the last year of progress, and remember that all those lives affected have been due to your continued support; on behalf of your Hometown Habitat and the homeowners we serve, thank you!
Publix Super Markets Charities has been a consistent partner in our Preservation and Repair program for the third year in a row. They just recently announced a major partnership with Habitat for Humanity International and numerous affiliates; here’s a snippet of their press release, but for the full spread you can check it out by clicking here!
LAKELAND, Fla., Dec. 7, 2017 — Publix Super Markets Charities (PSMC) announced today it would donate $5 million to more than 125 Habitat for Humanity affiliates, including those impacted by Hurricane Irma, and over 30 shelters and other nonprofit organizations across the Southeast.
This generous donation continues the Foundation’s commitment to meeting the basic needs of the communities it serves through additional financial support for housing, transitional support and client service programs.
“No individual or family should have to worry about the basic needs of food or shelter,” said Carol Jenkins Barnett, President of Publix Super Markets Charities. “I am honored our Foundation is continuing my father’s legacy of supporting the communities Publix serves. And I am so proud of our Publix associates for giving their time and talents to building houses and providing hope to those in need.”
With winter breaks beginning across the country, the season of Collegiate Challenge groups has begun! This program allows students to take “alternative breaks” and forgo the usual Caribbean cruise or ski trip to volunteer with a community service program of their choosing.
For us, that means putting students to work at one of our projects – new home construction or preservation and repair efforts. With Ohio State having been involved with the Veterans Village from the start, we we sure to continue the tradition, and the local Patriot Guard was eager to join us in thanking them. Check out some of our pictures of the Buckeyes in action!
Upcoming Home Dedication:
You’re invited to join us in welcoming our newest Habitat Homeowner, Jessica, to her home!
When: Saturday, January 20 from 9AM – 10AM
RSVP: 352-483-0434 Ext. 118; email@example.com