In early 2019, what now seems like a lifetime ago, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas merged with the West Pasco affiliate, becoming Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties. The two organizations consolidated for a variety of reasons, yet the goal has always been to increase affordable homeownership opportunities within the West Pasco service area. To that end, we have had success in building 18 new, safe, and affordable homes for Pasco families since 2020, raising production an estimated 900%. An economic impact analysis performed in 2020 concluded $1.75 is injected into the local economy for every $1 Habitat invests. Yet, we understand home production is only one metric to our success in the community.
As many have noticed, the West Pasco ReStore, previously located off Madison Street, has closed. This was not a permanent closure, but a relocation. The ReStore is our solution for turning donations of home goods and building materials from generous and environmentally concerned individuals and businesses, into money to build homes for families. To increase the ReStore’s visibility and deepen our image of the community, we are relocating the New Port Richey ReStore to 6431 US HWY 19, next to Harbor Freight in the Vanderbilt Square plaza. We anticipate this new location to open this summer and support a significant increase in foot traffic and revenue, which in-turn will help us build homes for deserving families.
Additionally, after a staffing reorganization hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have officially hired Robyn Liska as our Regional Director for West Pasco County. Robyn has lived in Pasco County for almost 30 years. Her 13-year history in nonprofit development includes work with the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association and most recently, AmSkills Workforce Training and Apprenticeships. As Regional Director of West Pasco, Robyn will increase our connectiveness, help build our partnerships and ensure the community remains engaged with our mission. Please don’t hesitate to connect with Robyn and welcome her to her new role: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also exploring opportunities to open a community outreach center, hopefully conveniently located to best facilitate our services. Again, all to remain connected to the community and provide enhanced services.
In addition to the 8 homes throughout the western part of the County built by our affiliate and 4 currently under construction, I also would like to provide an update on Town and Country Villas (also known as Leisure Lane). Habitat believes the redevelopment of Leisure Lane and Van Doran Avenue will be a catalyzing and transformational development in West Pasco. Since merging our two affiliates, we have been able to complete 10 homes in Town & Country Villas, significantly increasing production over sevenfold and this was even through a pandemic! This is an achievement our entire organization is proud of and the work continues to this day. Through a combined effort and partnership with Pasco County, City of New Port Richey, and the community, we have already witnessed significant change in the area and hope to see the quality of life for the residents and businesses continue to vastly improve. However, there are sizeable challenges that remain with the redevelopment, mainly related to the substantial infrastructure needs for the area and flood mitigation that needs to occur. After nearly 5 years of trying to redevelop the property, our affiliate and its Board of Directors has concluded it is best if another entity shepherd the revitalization of the area. This was not an easy decision; however, we believe this will allow our organization to refocus our efforts within Pasco County and ultimately serve more families.
Lastly, we are excited to publicly announce in mid-January we plan on closing a purchase of an almost 5 acres site, conveniently located off Little Road near the new Veterans Administration outpatient health clinic. While we are just in the initial planning phases, we are hopeful this development will provide 30 to 40 new affordable homeownership opportunities for the residents of Pasco County. This will be over a $6 million investment into the area and provide increased property tax revenues for decades to come. In 2021, Habitat presented an almost $1 million ceremonial check to the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners, which represented the total property taxes our Pinellas homeowners paid last year. We would love to present the Pasco County Commission similar size checks in years to come.
We’ve missed having you volunteer onsite and missed seeing you at events. We wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know we remain committed to providing affordable homeownership opportunities in West Pasco. We stand as both a willing and able partner.
Thank you for your ongoing support,
President & CEO
Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties