Habitat Home Dedication Celebrates New Homeowner in South St. Pete
Amidst pandemic, Habitat for Humanity dedicates home in Childs Park, St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, FL— On Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020, a local family celebrated the completion of the Habitat for Humanity homeownership program. The Worthen family partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties to build their home, which they purchased with 0% interest mortgage.
Habitat homeowner partners must demonstrate a need for adequate shelter, the ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat to invest 350 to 450 “sweat equity” hours. These soon-to-be homeowners also completed 20 homeowner education classes, from budgeting to how to be a good neighbor, to prepare for their new chapter as homeowners.
Ebony, a hardworking mother of four, is both a CNA/HHA for Suncoast Hospice, as well as a cashier at Publix. Her family is very close knit, and she says, “We love each other dearly. We are very outgoing and adventurous. My whole family is a bunch of comedians, and we love to joke around.”
Her youngest children, Tory and Isaiah, are heavily involved in sports. They both play basketball and football. “Once one sport is over, they go right into the next. They don’t like breaks.” Ebony’s oldest daughter, Ty’Kira, loves to cheer, and has done so for all three years of high school so far. Her second oldest daughter, A’Zahria, loves to attend all the games, but most of all loves being creative.
The family had been in their previous living situation for three years. The home was sold to a new owner who Ebony cannot get ahold of for the many issues she faces in the home. “I was promised by my previous landlord that things would be fixed, but only received a letter that there would be a new owner. The ceiling still leaks, and the toilet still does not work properly.”
Ebony tried multiple times to get into the Habitat program, and cried of relief when she was accepted. “I continued to work on what I needed to get done, and here I am now as a homeowner. I really enjoyed the sweat equity, and look forward to volunteering even after I complete the program.”
“This home will be all mine. It’s a home where I can say- ‘I did that!’ I helped put in the hours and worked hard to complete all of the classes and requirements to become a homeowner. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I want to be able to leave my kids a home that they will always have.”
The Worthen Family home is sponsored by a group of generous individuals including The Terwilliger/Everist Family, Joseph Cameron, Adria Thomas, Jeff Hughes, Vicki Saul, Lovena Dunn and Page Wurst. Sponsors and Habitat representatives were joined by State Representative Wengay Newton and St. Petersburg City Councilmember Robert Blackmon at the event.
Dedication footage: https://youtu.be/kzgwyBjzDzE
Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and West Pasco Counties
Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties has served over 840 families and individuals through its new home buyer and exterior repair programs 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 homeowner candidates earn 30 to 80 percent of area median income. Candidates must demonstrate need for adequate shelter; ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat to invest 350 to 450 “sweat equity” hours. Mortgage monies are used to build more homes, making each donation to Habitat a perpetual legacy to the community. Habitat believes that homeownership contributes to family stability, leading, in turn, to community stability. Additionally, the affiliate raises funds through their two ReStores, home improvement outlets where donated household and building items are sold to the public. For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, call (727) 536-4755 or visit www.habitatpwp.org.