ST. PETERSBURG, FL — June 10, 2014 – With the dedication of the Harrell family home in St. Petersburg on Monday, June 16th, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County will mark a significant milestone that has enabled 300 low-income families throughout Pinellas County, including 753 children, to escape the downward spiral of substandard and poverty housing. The dedication will also mark the beginning of a new neighborhood revitalization program for Habitat Pinellas, which will be introduced during the ceremony. The home dedication will take place at 10:30 a.m. at 2230 21st Avenue South.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will be a featured participant in the milestone home dedication, which will be attended by several other city officials, community activists and advocates for the Midtown area. Students from nearby Academy Prep will recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” and members of the Midtown Rotary Club will present the flag to the family. Tamara Harrell and her two children will receive the key to Habitat Pinellas’ 300th home from Bill Protz, president of Catalina Marketing Charitable Foundation, the home’s co-sponsor. The home was also sponsored and partially built by Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge Spring Break volunteers from out of state.
During the home dedication, Habitat Pinellas’ new “Neighborhood Preservation Partnership” program will be officially introduced with plans to begin initial operations in the 22nd Street corridor of South St. Petersburg. The Midtown Mercy Neighborhood Preservation Partnership, as it will be known, will offer affordable home rehabilitation services to low-income homeowners in the Midtown community using Habitat’s partnership model where homeowners will work “sweat equity” alongside contractors and volunteers to perform the roof replacements, structural repairs, exterior enhancements and energy efficiency upgrades. Homeowners will reimburse Habitat for material expenses through a 0% interest loan with payments based on affordability.
“Habitat Pinellas’ ongoing commitment to serve those in need while at the same time furthering our goals of neighborhood revitalization align perfectly with the city’s mission to truly be a city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play,” said Mayor Kriseman. “I wish to thank Habitat Pinellas for its continued commitment in St. Petersburg.”
The 300 homes that Habitat Pinellas has built since its inception in 1985 are located in nine major municipalities in Pinellas County, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor and Oldsmar. Of the 300 Habitat Pinellas homes, nearly half of them are located in St. Petersburg as the Harrell home marks the 143rd Habitat home in the city.
“We could not have reached this significant milestone without the support of our Pinellas community,” said Mike Sutton, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat Pinellas. “It is because of the physical labor of our volunteers, the generosity of our corporate and private donors, and the support from our local and state government, that Habitat for Humanity continues to succeed in its mission to provide affordable housing for low-income families. We are successful because of the camaraderie and goodwill of the people who come together to benefit the families in our community.”
Based on new home construction and rehabilitation work on existing homes, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County is among the top five percent of high performing affiliates nationwide, out of more than 1,500 U.S. Habitat affiliates. Habitat Pinellas has received Charity Navigator’s highest rating, four stars, every year for the past seven years. Only two percent of the charities rated nationally have received at least seven consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way and outperforms most other charities in America.
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About Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County
Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County has constructed 300 homes for struggling, low-income families in Pinellas County, using locally raised funds. Volunteers and the future homeowners construct the homes, which are sold at no profit and financed with a zero-interest loan. Habitat Pinellas homeowner candidates earn 30 to 80 percent of area median income. For Pinellas County, that translates to as little as $22,500 a year for a family of four. Candidates must also demonstrate need for adequate shelter; ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat Pinellas to invest 250 to 350 sweat equity hours. Mortgage monies are used to build even more homes, making each donation to Habitat a perpetual legacy to the community. Habitat believes that home ownership contributes to family stability, leading in turn to community stability. Additionally, Habitat Pinellas raises funds through their ReStore, a home improvement outlet where donated household and building items are sold to the public. For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, contact (727) 536-4755 or visit www.HabitatPinellas.org.
Habitat Pinellas Neighborhood Preservation Partnership
The Neighborhood Preservation Partnership is a home rehabilitation program offered by Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County. The program is modeled after other successful neighborhood revitalization partnerships and is intended to compliment other initiatives that are currently strengthening economic and resource development in the areas it will serve. The Neighborhood Preservation Partnership embraces an asset-based approach to community development and recognizes and promotes the numerous strengths in the community. In accordance with the Habitat for Humanity “partnership” model, low-income homeowners will join together with contractors and volunteers to perform the rehabilitation work – a process known as “sweat equity.” Homeowners will reimburse Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County for material expenses through a 0% interest loan – with payments based on affordability.
The program’s inaugural project, Mercy Midtown Neighborhood Preservation Partnership, offers home rehabilitation services to homeowners who live in the 22nd Street South corridor in St. Petersburg. Home rehabilitation work offered includes “aging in place” modifications (designed to accommodate physical mobility limitations), energy efficiency upgrades, roof replacement, structural repairs and exterior enhancements. Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County anticipates that the program and related partnerships will evolve over time as the nonprofit continually seeks to focus resources and opportunities to promote the aspirations of the Midtown community to the fullest extent possible. For more details on the Neighborhood Preservation Partnership, contact Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County at 727) 536-4755 or coo@HabitatPinellas.org.