Recent News

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Celebrates International Women's Day And Women Build 2017

Bradenton, Florida - March 9, 2017 Manatee County Habitat for Humanity hosted a luncheon at Renaissance on 9th to celebrate International Women’s Day and encouraged those gathered to reflect on the women who have inspired them. “This day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally and at a local level,” said Diana Shoemaker, Manatee Habitat Executive Director.

For Manatee Habitat the Women Build is a great way for women to take a proactive step in serving their communities. The goal is to empower women to help a family build strength, stability and self-reliance through sustainable housing. Women Build Co-Chair Chief Melanie Bevan, of the Bradenton Police told of her willingness to join this effort because she knows the impact Habitat for Humanity has on changing lives and communities. She expressed the feeling of being part of the Habitat family after attending just a few events.    

Brittany Holley groundbreaking
Women Build Ground Breaking for Brittany Holley. (l-r) Gary Tibbetts, Assistant to Vern Buchanan, Yvonne Ingersoll, Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy, Brittany Holley, Habitat Home Buyer, Chundra Savage (aunt), Chief Melanie Bevan, Bradenton Police, and Madeline Kates(aunt).

Brittany Holley is the home buyer who is partnering with Manatee Habitat on the Women Build. She is inspired by Chief Bevan and Yvonne Ingersoll, Manatee County Sheriff‘s Deputy who also attended the luncheon. “I am so blessed to have these ladies here for me,” Brittany said.

Brittany told how becoming a Habitat home buyer has transformed her. She shared that she did not have much family support growing up. Her mother died from complications of child birth and her father was a victim of homicide. She credits her grandmother for raising her. A single mom herself, she thought if I can just get Section 8 housing and food stamps I’ll be all right. Joining Habitat and starting her process toward home ownership changed that.

Brittany is working full-time and studying Criminal Justice at State College of Florida. “I plan on going into law enforcement and hope to be an officer living in the community I serve,” said Brittany. She reminded everyone, that Habitat home buyers are not given a house; they qualify for a zero percent mortgage after completing 300 hours of “sweat equity” alongside other Habitat partners and volunteers. Not only do applicants have to work on their own house, they complete financial literacy classes and save money to put into escrow. Another important part of the experience according to Ms. Holley is that Habitat home buyers are building and contributing as stakeholders in their community.

realtor assoc check presentation
Xena Vallone, President of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee presents a check for $5,000 for the Women Build 2017 to Diana Shoemaker, Habitat Executive Director at the International Women’s Day luncheon.

Xena Vallone, President of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, spoke to the group and presented a check for $5,000. “We are proud to support Manatee Habitat with the 2017 Women’s Build.” said Ms. Vallone. “Not only are the homeowners blessed with a new home, but their communities are thriving thanks to the impact Habitat is making in the area.”

Many of the attendees came to get more information about participating in the Women Build. Bruce Winter, Construction Director, commented that he likes working with women volunteers because they ask questions, and take direction well. Plus they laugh a lot and really enjoy working together. The houses built by Manatee Habitat meet the highest energy standards in order to keep the home owner’s maintenance and utility costs low.

Habitat Women Build Leader Kathy Shjarback spoke about how much fun it is to build. She and her husband retired from Maryland and decided to volunteer with Manatee Habitat. “That was eleven years ago and we have worked Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays since then,” Kathy said. This will be her third Women Build and she was recognized for her volunteer leadership at the luncheon.

National Women Build Week May 6 – 14 is sponsored by Lowe’s. As a way to increase participation the Lowe’s Central Bradenton store on Cortez at 14th St. West is conducting three Saturday workshops March 11 & 25, April 8 (2-3pm) to provide knowledge and skills to help women be successful. Those wishing to participate can sign up on the Manatee Habitat Face Book page.

The Women Build is located at 2214 10th Street West in Bradenton and is on a street with other homes being built by Manatee Habitat for Humanity. Manatee Habitat is actively recruiting women to volunteer in Women Build 2017 as individuals and teams. Those interested should contact Barbara Slater, Volunteer Coordination Manager 941.748.9100 x 110 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Dedicates New Home in Bradenton

Bradenton, Florida (February 7, 2016) – Manatee County Habitat for Humanity dedicated a new home in Bradenton on Saturday, Feb. 4th. “The thing I treasure about a dedication is that it brings together the community that made this happen,” said Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director of Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.

The new home owner is Yesenia Garcia who entered the Habitat Home Buyer program November 21, 2014 and has been working steadily towards achieving the goal of home ownership. She and her three children were very excited about the completion of their new home and the many people who came out to share the moment. “I am so happy I will have own my own home for my children that is safe and that I can afford,” Yesenia said.

Many of the sponsors who provided funding for the construction of the house were on hand to congratulate Yesenia. “Our involvement takes on a whole new meaning when we can meet the deserving individuals and families who benefit from such a caring community!” said Michael McCoy, Bank of America Market President, Sarasota-Manatee.

Tony Griffin and Shirlene Sze, with Tropicana brought a housewarming gift of supplies for the new homeowner. Tony Griffin is also a member of the Habitat Board of Directors. Gina White and Robin Wentz of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee which provided a grant attended the dedication. Roger Boos, President of Manatee Reads which is a partner of Manatee Habitat donated books for family.

A red wagon loaded with gifts for Yesenia, her two daughters and young son was donated by employees of Wells Fargo which also helped fund the home construction. “When we all volunteered and worked on the house back in September we decided we wanted to do something for the family when it was finished,” said Sandy Martin, of Wells Fargo.

Yesenia’s family represents the 126th Habitat family to become a first time home buyer through Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.   She worked on her home with Habitat volunteers each week since construction started in July. In addition, as part of the Habitat Home Buyer program, Yesenia has participated in home ownership and financial education classes.

Her home is also the 100th house built under the supervision Bruce Winter, Manatee Habitat Construction Director.  It is the first of several Habitat homes being built in the City of Bradenton near Village of the Arts. Manatee County Habitat for Humanity received funds through a Community Block Grant and purchased vacant lots in this neighborhood to build new homes. All of the planned homes have Habitat home buyers in the program.

MANATEE COUNTY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

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 about Manatee Habitat visit www.manateehabitat.org.

Manatee Families Thankful for Habitat Homes

By Claire Aronson

Skye Reyes still remembers the Bradenton two-bedroom duplex she lived in with her mother and four siblings. “It was very crowded and small,” the 11-year-old said this week as she sat on the couch in her family’s Ellenton home. “I like living here more. Since we don’t live by big streets, it is quieter.”

About 3 1/2 years ago, the Reyes family moved into their four-bedroom house in Hope Landing, a community with 18 Manatee County Habitat for Humanity homes. While this is the family’s third Thanksgiving in the home, mother Ana Reyes, 37, still calls it “such a blessing.”

“Right now, I’m so thankful that I’m able to afford everything for them,” Ana Reyes said. “It feels good.”

The kids are at home this week for Thanksgiving break. Clyde Reyes, who is celebrating his 10th birthday on Thanksgiving, sat Tuesday at the kitchen table playing speed stacks. In the living room, Skye sat on the floor with brother Clayton, 6, playing bendomino.

“The environment is healthier, safer. It’s clean,” said their 16-year-old sister, Mey.

Echoed Clyde, “I’m so glad we moved here.”

Habitat’s first green community

When Manatee County Habitat for Humanity broke ground in 2010 on Hope Landing, which is just off Franklin Avenue in Ellenton, the nonprofit set out to make the 18-home community the first green Habitat neighborhood in Manatee.

The infrastructure within the Hope Landing community, including the roads and playground, was paid for through a Manatee County Community Development Block Grant. It was built out in 2015.

“We just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Bruce Winter, Manatee Habitat’s director of construction. “Habitat builds homes for low-income families. We felt as good stewards we also needed to be good stewards of the Earth.”

Manatee Habitat has received multiple local, state and federal recognitions for building Hope Landing as “energy efficient, sustainable and affordable homes,” according to a Habitat document.

Some of the Hope Landing homes have been certified as U.S. Green Build Coalition LEEDS Platinum, making them the first residential homes in Manatee County to receive the certification. Other homes in the community received the coalition’s LEED Gold certification.

Now, Manatee Habitat uses the green standards that were used at Hope Landing for all other new home construction. So far, the nonprofit has built 24 houses like this, Winter said.

“By building the more efficient home, we build a home that is affordable on a monthly basis,” he said. “For a few dollars more, you can build a more efficient home and lower the cost to the homeowner. Since developing the products and materials that we used at Hope Landing, we now use that as we move forward to other areas of the county.”

The green homes have made a big difference for the Habitat homeowners, Winter said.

“We’ve noticed that it is having a big difference on a homeowner’s life, being able to have a more efficient home and by saving cost of energy, they are able to use that money to improve the lives of their families,” he said.

For 33-year-old Autumn McDuffie, who lives in Hope Landing with her four children, she never has any electric bill of more than $100.

“I appreciate it so much,” she said as she stood outside her home with her dog, Beautiful. “I’m so happy.”

The Hope Landing community means 18 families now have opportunities to be successful in the future, said Diana Shoemaker, Manatee Habitat’s executive director.

“It’s just a huge sense of accomplishment for our community and Habitat family, and that we created a stable place for families and children,” she said. “There is much hope for the people that live here.”

Habitat home has helped a lot

Before moving into her home in Hope Landing, Ana Reyes paid $750 a month for the two-bedroom duplex in Bradenton. Now, her mortgage is $585 a month for her four children, mother and husband to live in the four-bedroom Habitat home.

“It’s nice because I can make my budget,” she said. “I can save money.”

With the financial stability and savings, it has allowed Ana Reyes to send her children to Bradenton Christian School for the past three years.

“I’m able to pay that education for them,” she said. “I think that’s the best investment that you can make. I want them to be successful in life.”

Currently working part-time at Bradenton Christian, Ana Reyes said she is working toward becoming a full-time teacher, which wouldn’t have been possible if she didn’t live in the Habitat home.

“I used to have two to three jobs,” she said. “I used to not see my kids that often. This is the first year I’m able to be around them.”

The Reyes family plans to celebrate Thanksgiving — along with Clyde’s birthday — at home.

“Since I got my house, I always have my Thanksgiving and Christmas in my house,” Ana Reyes said. “That’s the purpose. I love it to stay here with the kids. They love it. We really do.”

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article116514543.html#storylink=cpy

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Dedicates New Home in Bradenton Saturday, Feb. 4th

yesenia 3Bradenton, FL (January 26) - Please join Yesenia Garcia and her family and friends to celebrate the dedication of her new house built by Manatee County Habitat for Humanity volunteers. The new home located at 1106 17th Ave. West in Bradenton will be dedicated on Saturday, Feb. 4th at 12:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Yesenia entered the Habitat Home Buyer program November 21, 2014 and has been working steadily towards achieving the goal of home ownership. She represents the 126th Habitat family to become a first time homeowner through Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.  

When Yesenia started the program she said, “I would like to own my own home to have a stable home for my children that is safe and that I can afford.” Now she sees that dream coming true as she has been building her home with Habitat volunteers each week since construction started in July. In addition, as part of the Habitat Home Buyer program, Yesenia has participated in home ownership and financial education classes.

Her home is also the 100th house built under the supervision Bruce Winter, Manatee Habitat Construction Director.  It is the first of several Habitat homes being built in the City of Bradenton near Village of the Arts.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity received funds through a Community Block Grant and purchased vacant lots in this neighborhood to build new homes. All of the planned homes have Habitat home buyers in the program. In addition, Manatee Habitat will use a holistic approach for Neighborhood Revitalization by combining new home construction, renovation, rehabilitation and education in partnership with resident groups and other organizations in the area.

yesenia houseConstruction materials for Yesenia’s house were funded by donations from Manatee Habitat supporters and contributions from the following organizations: The City of Bradenton, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Ralph French Charitable Foundation, Pepsico Foundation, Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee and the Palm-Aire Women’s Garden Club.

A reminder to attendees: The Green Bridge will be closed due to the Regatta events on the Manatee River on Saturday, Feb. 4th. Attendees are encouraged to park at City Life Church located at 1300 17th Ave. W.