Bradenton, Fla: Manatee County Habitat for Humanity held a groundbreaking ceremony for their Poling Gardens community in West Samoset on Saturday, Dec. 10 at noon. All 16 homes in the new development will be sold with an affordable zero-interest mortgage to local families who have been affected by the housing crisis.
The groundbreaking took place on the empty plot of land where the development will reside; 1098 32nd Ave. E, Bradenton. Donors, prospective homeowners, and community members gathered to celebrate the start of the long-awaited project.
Manatee Habitat’s President and CEO, Bernie Quinn, and Board Chair, Michelle Grimsley, gave speeches that highlighted the commitment that the nonprofit organization has to providing opportunities for homeownership to local families at a time when affordable housing is scarce.
“I hope that you recognize the hard work that we’re putting into this affordable housing crisis and
creating homeowners,” said Grimsley. “The buzzword now is ‘affordable housing,’ but affordable
homeownership is something totally different.”
The last to speak at the ceremony was prospective homeowner, Janira, a Manatee School District administrator, and her partner, Wilfredo, a firetruck builder. After being forced to move out of a rental home when their landlord fell behind on mortgage payments and then receiving rent increases year after year at their current apartment complex, the couple is thrilled that they will soon have an affordable forever home for their two children.
“We feel blessed that we will finally have a safe environment where we won’t have to worry about being removed from our home or getting rent increases every year,” said Janira.
When the rental and housing market skyrocketed, Janira and Wilfredo struggled to find an apartment that was within their budget. “They said that the apartments that they were building are affordable, but they weren’t for us,” said Janira.
With 58 families prequalified for their homeownership program, and an average of 83 inquiries per month from families who hope to qualify, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity has set an ambitious goal of scaling up their efforts by closing on 10 homes every year.
Currently, Manatee Habitat is working on four new homes in their Palmetto Triangle community while also renovating existing Habitat homes that they will sell to families in need. By mid-2025, they will have closed on all 16 single-family homes in Poling Gardens.
About Manatee County Habitat for Humanity
Creating a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, ecumenical, volunteer-based organization
with the mission to develop resources, educate and mobilize people to work alongside families in need, rehabilitating existing homes and building sustainable, affordable homes, thereby improving the quality of life in Manatee County. For more information visit manateehabitat.org.