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Habitat for Humanity purchases land for affordable housing

roger interview


MANATEE - Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is eying its fourth planned multi-unit affordable housing development on 3 acres of land in Samoset, and will be looking to the community for help.

With a history of building or rehabbing single-unit homes in low-income neighborhoods, the agency has broadened its vision over the years to work on larger developments. The most recent one, Hope Landing in Ellenton, was completed in 2015.

Hopes are high to begin construction on the Samoset property by 2019, but there is much to do.

The three acres at the end of 32nd Avenue East off of Ninth Street East has long been vacant and at one time, was a tomato farm. It has belonged to the Poling family for decades and they wanted the property to be put to good use.

“They approached us about a year ago,” said Roger Arnholt, president of Habitat’s board of directors. “They had a real interest in affordable housing and this was a way to mesh their interest with ours to achieve our shared goal.”

Habitat closed on the property on Monday after completing all of the necessary soil testing.

“I am very happy that our family farm will be used to provide homes for families through Manatee Habitat,” said Caroline Poling Steward, on behalf of herself and brother Delbert Poling.

Habitat is looking to raise $700,000 to make the development happen, including the initial infrastructure. The development will feature a community garden because the area is considered to be a food desert, meaning there is no quality, affordable fresh foods in at least a mile from the site. There is an elementary and high school in the area, which appealed to Habitat. Arnholt said the majority of residents served are families with school-aged children.

Amy Van Delt, resource development manager for Habitat, said the low-income neighborhood also is one of three areas in Manatee County targeted for affordable housing.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is one of the few nonprofit agencies that have won national awards for also building green communities and the new Poling Gardens community will be built in the same model.

Though early in the process and with site planning still left to do, Arnholt expects the development to have about 15 single-family homes. Besides filling a crucial gap in the county’s affordable housing needs, Habitat likes the larger developments because they create a sense of shared needs that tend to bring the community together in taking pride in home ownership.

“It creates an entire community of people that come together with a shared commitment to not only themselves, but their children,” Arnholt said. “We love doing the single-family infill projects and we are doing those now in Washington Park and Village of the Arts. But when you can build a community with shared aspects, then it becomes something pretty special.”

Van Delt said the mantra used to be breaking the cycle of poverty, but it’s more about breaking the cycle of multi-generational renting.

“You have generations of families who have never owned a home,” she said.

Habitat will be seeking corporate sponsors and donations and holding fund-raising events to raise the money needed for the development.

A community kickoff event will take place at the 3 Keys Brewing at 2505 Manatee Ave. E. from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at 3 Keys Brewing, 2505 Manatee Ave. E. The restaurant will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to Habitat, which will be on site to inform the community about the new development and garner community support.

Check as those details emerge or call 941-748-9100 to find out more.

Mark Young: 941-745-7041, @urbanmark2014

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Habitat for Humanity to build Samoset subdivision

Nonprofit group bought a 3-acre tract that was once a tomato farm

MANATEE COUNTY – A volunteer-based nonprofit organization intends to build its fourth affordable housing neighborhood in Manatee County.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity recently purchased a three-acre tract that used to be a tomato farm in west Samoset. The Bradenton-based organization intends to convert the land into a subdivision of single-family homes with a community garden.

The neighborhood is to be called Poling Gardens in recognition of the Poling family, who sold the property.

Manatee Habitat intends to break ground in late 2018 but needs to raise donations for the first phase of construction as well as an estimated $700,000 for infrastructure for the undeveloped site.

“We will seek community support on multiple levels as we do with all of our mission work,” Roger Arnholt, president of Habitat’s board of directors, said in an announcement. “To be successful we will partner with government, businesses, volunteers and our donors to make this community a reality.”

Manatee Habitat is currently building homes on infill lots in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts. It has built three neighborhoods, Washington Park and Village of the Palms in Palmetto and, most recently, Hope Landing in Ellenton.

The organization works with lower-income families who otherwise would have difficulty obtaining a conventional mortgage. Its clients purchase a Habitat home with a no-interest loan. In exchange, they must take home ownership and financial literacy classes and contribute 300 to 500 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home and other homes.

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Habitat for Humanity to build green community of single family homes in Bradenton

green community

BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - Up to 18 single family homes will be built on  three acres in the west Samoset section of Bradenton.  Manatee County Habitat for Humanity recently bought the land, which is a former tomato farm.

"We're very excited about doing a community particularly in this area where there is a great need for affordable housing," said Amy Van Dell, Resource Manager for Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.  "We know it's going to involve a lot of the community members that come together and that have come together with us in the past."

This Habitat for Humanity community will be located on 32nd Avenue East.  Bill Moore's home sits right next to the land.  He says that he's okay with having this development built here.

"As long as they're good residents and keep to themselves, everything will be fine," said Moore.

We're being told, the neighborhood will be called Poling Gardens in recognition of the family who sold the property.  It will feature environmentally friendly green homes and a community garden.

"I am a gardener, a conservationist and a builder which is at times can be at odds with each other, however this is an oppurtunity to put all of those together," said Bruce Winter, Director of Construction for Habitat for Humanity.

In the coming months, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity will be raising money for the project.  Once construction gets underway, they will be looking for volunteers to help build the homes.  Ground is expected to be broken here sometime late next year with all the homes being finished within a couple of years.

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Open Call for Design Teams for the 3rd Annual ReStore Spaces Event

A great way to support Manatee County Habitat for Humanity

SWAT Successful Women Aligning Together Dining Room

Bradenton, FL, Oct./4/2017–The search for design teams is underway for the 3rd Annual ReStore Spaces fundraiser.

ReStore Spaces is designed to showcase Manatee Habitat for Humanity’s thrift stores—the ReStore location at 4105 Cortez Rd and the ReStore location on 1227 Hardin Avenue.

Anyone in the community can form a team. The only requirement is an interest in design and the willingness to participate. Each team will choose items from the Hardin Avenue ReStore location to repurpose or refurbish. The goal is to use these redone items in a room design to be displayed in one of the specially framed out room locations at the 3rd Annual ReStore Spaces event.

Applications can be found here. Prospective teams can also pick up applications at either ReStore location. The deadline for team entries is Friday Nov. 10th.

Manatee Habitat for Humanity ReStores are non-profit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Funds from sales at the ReStores help build, modify and repair housing for low income residents in Manatee County.

The ReStores Spaces Reveal Party will be held Thursday, Feb. 22nd from 6-9pm at the Hardin ReStore.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Karen McElroy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.