Women Flex their Muscles at Habitat for Humanity Build Event

By James A. Jones Jr.

Bradenton - Brittany Holley climbed all over the building site Thursday, stapling moisture barrier onto window and door casings, drilling holes into the concrete foundation to attach temporary wall supports, toting building materials and fetching supplies.

Through it all, a smile lit up her face, knowing that she was helping build the Habitat for Humanity house that she and her three children will move into in a few months.

She also smiled at the sight of 30 or so volunteers converging on the 2200 block of 10th Street West to help during National Women Build Week.

“Today I started off drilling here, just to make sure this wall is stable. I have been putting down some foam blocks. I was drilling rebar. This is an awesome stress reliever right here, hammering staples in. This is just to make sure the water from the concrete doesn’t mess up the wood or anything,” Holley said. “I ran over there to the other Habitat house where I was painting a little bit. Anywhere I can help, anywhere I can get in, I am here and ready to work.”

Thursday’s volunteer workforce included a number of heavy hitters, including Carol Probstfeld, president of State College of Florida; County Commissioner Betsy Benac; Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan; schools Superintendent Diana Greene; and Angel Colonneso, Manatee County clerk of the circuit court.

“This is a whole new experience, I am excited by it,” Probstfeld said.

One of her first jobs was helping install a window casing. She mused that maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing for everyone to help build their own house.

Kathy Shjarback served as crew leader for the women build.

“This is my third women build. I have helped build more than 50 houses,” Shjarback said. “I love to see families get a chance to do well. Most of the homeowners learn how to maintain their home, and to take pride in it.”

Mike Kunst, an assistant store manager for Lowe’s, said he was learning new things, too, at Thursday’s build.

“I have never seen the plastic foam forms used before. It’s pretty interesting seeing how they go up,” Kunst said.

The molds, also called insulated concrete forms, were stacked and leveled by volunteers. Later, concrete will be poured into them. The walls will eventually be covered by drywall on the interior and siding on the exterior, helping produce a strong structure that helps keep energy bills low.

Amy Van Dell, resource development manager for Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, said the insulated concrete form makes for a low-maintenance, energy-efficient home.

Jim Crouse, a Lakewood Ranch resident who has been a Habitat volunteer for 10 years, called the women build event a lot of fun. He appreciated seeing all the volunteers swarming over the construction site.

Volunteers Thursday were working on an attached villa, which will house two families, starting in September when construction is completed, Van Dell said.

Lowe’s donated $2 million to Habitat’s 2017 National Women Build Week. For more information about Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, visit manateehabitat.org.

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article149967062.html#storylink=cpy

 

Women Leaders, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s team up to build a home for Habitat’s 10th annual National Women Build Week in Bradenton

Bradenton, FL (May 3, 2017) – Several notable Manatee women and Lowe’s Heroes will be among more than twenty volunteers to join Manatee County Habitat for Humanity to build decent and affordable housing as part of Habitat for Humanity’s 10th annual National Women Build Week, May 6-14. Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 to empower women to advocate for affordable housing and spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by many. Women are invited to devote at least one day to help families build decent and affordable housing in their local communities. This year, more than 17,000 women including Lowe’s Heroes volunteers from across the country, are expected to volunteer at construction sites as part of Habitat’s 2017 National Women Build Week.

Lowe’s donated $2 million to Habitat’s 2017 National Women Build Week and will provide the support of Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers to more than 300 Habitat locations hosting National Women Build Week activities this year.

WHAT: Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s Heroes celebrating National Women Build Week will raise the ICF Block Walls (Insulated Concrete Form) of the exterior of the house.

WHEN: Work will start at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 11th and continue until 12:00 noon.

WHERE: The Habitat home is being built at 2214 10th St. West in Bradenton. There is parking along 10th St. West and 23rd Ave. West.

WHO: Several women leaders supporting the Women Build will attend including:

  • Chief Melanie Bevan of the Bradenton Police Department
  • Dr. Carol Probstfeld, President of State College of Florida
  • Betsy Benac, Chairwoman of Manatee County Board of Commissioners
  • Diana Greene, Superintendent of Manatee County Schools
  • Angel Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court

About 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.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity has grown from a grassroots effort that began on a community farm in southern Georgia in 1976 to a global nonprofit housing organization in nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries. People partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Lowe’s in the Community

Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 60-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. In the past decade, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $300 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. For the latest news, visit Newsroom.Lowes.com or follow @LowesMedia on Twitter.

 

women build icf

A volunteer of the Women Build 2013 cuts the ICF Block for the exterior walls of a Habitat home in Hope Landing in Ellenton.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and Lowe's team up for 10th Annual National Women Build Week

Brittany Holley future Habitat Homeowner with Police Chief Melanie Bevan and Dr

Bradenton, FL (April 19, 2017) – Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and Brittany Holley, the future Habitat homeowner will work alongside Lowe’s volunteers and all-female construction crews for Habitat for Humanity’s 10th annual National Women Build Week, May 6-14. Habitat’s National Women Build Week invites women to help make a difference and devote at least one day to help build decent and affordable housing in their local communities.

More than 17,000 women, including Lowe’s Heroes volunteers, are expected to volunteer at construction sites across the country as part of Habitat’s 2017 National Women Build Week.

Chief Melanie Bevan of the Bradenton Police Department and Dr. Carol Probstfeld, President of State College of Florida will be working on the house with Brittany on Thursday, May 11th. “We are pleased to have these two remarkable women supporting our Women Build 2017 and coming out to help build,” said Diana Shoemaker, Manatee Habitat Executive Director.

In Bradenton volunteers will work to install the ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) Block walls of the exterior of the house. This is the third time Manatee Habitat has held a Women Build and the first time in the City of Bradenton. Several women leaders in the community have plans to come out during this week including the Superintendent of Manatee County Schools, Diana Greene and the first female Clerk of the Court, Angel Colonneso. Kathy Shjarback, Habitat’s Women Build Team Leader has worked on the two previous Women Builds and looks forward to this one. “We have a lot of fun and everyone can learn something new and help build a house that will be sustainable for Brittany’s family,” Kathy said.

Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 to empower women to advocate for affordable housing and spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by many. Each year, Lowe’s provides the support of their employee volunteers, Lowe’s Heroes, and conducts how-to clinics at stores to teach volunteers construction skills so they can feel equipped to take part in the builds. Lowe’s Heroes will be among more than twenty volunteers joining to help build decent, affordable housing in the Bradenton as part of National Women “Through our partnership with Habitat and support of National Women Build Week, Lowe’s empowers women to get involved in their communities, learn construction skills and make a meaningful impact,” said James Frison, Lowe’s director of community relations. “We’re grateful to all the women in Manatee County who will volunteer this week to help build and repair decent and affordable housing.” Lowe’s donated nearly $2 million to this year’s National Women Build Week, including a $5,000 store gift card to Manatee County Habitat for Humanity. Since 2003, Lowe’s has committed more than $63 million to Habitat’s mission and helped more than 6,500 families improve their living conditions.

Habitat’s first Women Build event was held in 1998. Since then, all-women construction crews have helped build more than 2,500 homes in partnership with families.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program and to learn about Women Build events in communities across the U.S. year-round, visit Habitat.org/wb.

Lowes LogoAbout 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.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in nearly 1,400 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Lowe’s in the Community
Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 60-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. In the past decade, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed nearly $300 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. For the latest news, visit Newsroom.Lowes.com or follow @LowesMedia on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Earth Day, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity looks to encourage more ‘green’ homes

BY CLAIRE ARONSON / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

bruce

MANATEE - Cheryl Roth, a Manatee County Habitat for Humanity homeowner, describes living in a sustainable home as heaven.

Since July 2012, Roth, 56, and Terrill Symons, 69, have called the Hope Landing neighborhood in Ellenton home. Their house, which has solar panels on the roof as well as solar hot water, was the first residential home in Manatee County to receive the United States Green Build Council’s LEED Platinum certification.

“You are not house poor,” Roth said on a recent afternoon. “You are not spending all your money on your home. It’s energy efficient. It’s cost efficient. It doesn’t make you go crazy. There are a lot less things to worry about.”

Roth and Symons’ experience living in one of Habitat’s 25 sustainable homes in Manatee is something the nonprofit wants to highlight this Earth Day, April 22. For these families, expenses such as electricity are lower thanks to the sustainable homes.

“These people don’t have disposable income to put aside for maintenance of home,” said Bruce Winter, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity director of construction. “If we can do it for a low-income family, why isn’t it being done for everyone?”

While the extra materials to build a sustainable home may be a little more costly, the savings on electricity alone is $48 per month, according to Winter.

“We invite everyone in the community to come do it,” he said.

Sustainable, or “green,” building is constructing homes that are “efficient and durable, that use less resources, are healthy to live in and are affordable,” Habitat for Humanity materials state.

“The benefits of green homes for Habitat homeowners are many, and include saving money on utilities, hurricane protection and improve air quality,” the materials state.

Prior to living in their Habitat home, Roth and Symons were living in a trailer park in Palmetto where the electricity bill was $110 a month. Now, the monthly electricity bill averages $30.

“It’s just a gift from God,” Roth said. “I’m not real religious, but you saw God opened up doors to get in here.”

Symons regularly logs onto his laptop to check how efficiently the solar panels are working. Being green is not something new for him, as 30 years ago he put a solar panel on a school bus in California.

“I’ve been interested in this my whole life,” he said. “I’m into it. I believe in it. I vote for it.”

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity executive director Diana Shoemaker said she thinks they have a successful model for building affordable homes.

“It’s going to help our homeowner, but it’s going to help county with longevity of houses,” she said. “I think it is really about the outcome. This is an outcome that changes quality of life for community. We are hoping we are creating a model that really sustains itself in the community. We are getting good feedback on what we are doing.”

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson

Read more here

 

New Board Members Join Manatee County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity has added four new members to its Board of Directors. The new members bring a wealth of experience and community knowledge to the organization. They are:

Jill McGarry, Marketing Director with Blalock Walters, P. A. Jill brings fifteen years experience in local non-profit and corporate marketing. She has served in marketing, community relations and communications roles with Blalock Walters, Meals on Wheels PLUS and the Bradenton Herald. Jill is a Leadership Manatee Graduate (class of 2010-11), an active member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Young Professional and Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, and is Vice President of Membership of Florida Public Relations Association. She has served on the board of directors of other non-profits including the Women’s Resource Center of Manatee, Humane Society of Manatee County and Junior Leadership Manatee. Jill earned her Bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

board members newKirsten Regal, Human Resources Specialist (retired). Kirsten’s long career at Sun Hydraulics included progressive responsibilities in Human Resources including strategic planning, benefits administration and community relations. A significant part of her career focused on organizational development by implementing a unique leadership style which resulted in case studies of Sun Hydraulics approach to horizontal management by Harvard Business School. Kirsten received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University at Hayward and an MBA at Colorado State. Previous non-profit board roles include: Sarasota/Manatee Workforce Board, Junior Achievement and MTI Advisory Board.

Timothy Polk, Urban Planning Solutions LLC, Managing Director. Tim has gained vast experience in his previous positions in Planning and Community Development in Little Rock, Arkansas, Atlanta, Georgia and for the past ten years as the Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Bradenton until his retirement in January of 2016. He then launched his own business, Urban Planning Solutions LLC, and brings his experience gained over four decades in architecture, urban design and planning to urban and suburban projects. Tim received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and a Master’s of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Master’s of Arts from Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan. Professional affiliations include American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, Urban Land Institute, National Trust of Historic Preservation, National Association for Housing and Development Officials and Congress for New Urbanism.

William Padelford, ESQ., Garland & Padelford, Attorneys, LLC. Bill joined Mr. Garland’s firm in 2000 and currently acts as the managing partner. He concentrates on the problems that face retirees in estate planning, trust administration, elder law and general legal issues. He often speaks on estate planning and avoiding probate. Bill received his J.D. from the University Of Florida College Of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar, Manatee County Bar Association, the Masons, the Shriners and the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton. He has provided Pro Bono services to the Red Cross, Volunteer Services of Manatee County and Manatee Youth For Christ Board of Directors.

Officers of the Board of Directors were installed at the Board meeting on March 22nd: Roger Arnholt, President, Rev. Rosemary Wheeler Backer, Vice President, Barry Berman, Treasurer and Lauren Fuller, Secretary.

Manatee County Habitat's Revitalization Effort in Washington Park Earns Public Service Award from Keep Manatee Beautiful

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity received an award from Keep Manatee Beautiful for its revitalization work with the residents of Washington Park in Bradenton. The award recognized Manatee Habitat for its partnership with the resident group “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” during the MLK Service Day in 2016.
“We are happy to receive this recognition of our partnership with Washington Park residents from Keep Manatee Beautiful.  It is a tribute to the importance of joining together and having pride in your community,” said Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director for Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.

2Ingrid McClelland KMB and Diana Shoemaker Manatee County Habitat for Humanity with 2016 KMB Award
Ingrid McClelland and Diana Shoemaker with 2016 KMB Award

Habitat for Humanity is known for building affordable, sustainable houses for families in need but it has also expanded its mission to include Neighborhood Revitalization. “Broadening our mission to include working with communities to determine with the residents what is most important to them is the basis for Neighborhood Revitalization,” said Diana Shoemaker. “We have built relationships with the residents of Washington Park by working together in this community over the last three years and we look forward to continuing to work together.”

Both organizations received Martin Luther King Day of Service grants in 2016 and used their grants to work together in this community.  “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” purchased lawn equipment for their yard clean-up program and Manatee Habitat identified a Washington Park resident for an exterior repair and painting project called a “Brush with Kindness.”  

Manatee Habitat and Washington Park’s “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” are planning more joint projects together to address the goals of the residents and increase participation in the neighborhood group.  For more information contact DiDi Hager at 748-9100.

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 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.

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

November 9th from 5-9pm, Manatee Habitat Fundraiser at Chipotle Bradenton

flyer

Make dinner a selfless act by joining us for a fundraiser to support Manatee Habitat for Humanity. Come in to the Chipotle at 1608 Cortez Rd. West in Bradenton on Wednesday, November 9th between 5:00pm and 9:00pm. Bring in this flyer, show it on your smartphone or tell the cashier you’re supporting the cause to make sure that 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Manatee Habitat for Humanity .

Giving Challenge Update

Thank you Giving Challenge donors and The Patterson Foundation! You raised $26,676 for Manatee County Habitat for Humanity to build affordable, sustainable housing.

Giving Challenge thank you

At Manatee Habitat for Humanity we believe that adequate and affordable housing is foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty and transforming communities.

giving challenge footer logos

Wells Fargo Employees Volunteer on the Suncoast

On Saturday, September 17, Wells Fargo employees participated in nine Habitat for Humanity volunteer building projects from Tampa to Naples.

Here in Manatee County, they helped nail trusses and put on siding. A huge thank you to Wells Fargo!

IMG 9302

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and Manatee Reads! Join Forces to Support Literacy Programs at 13th Avenue Dream Center

be the one cookiesManatee Habitat & Manatee Reads members & employees with "Be the One" Cookies

Bradenton, FL Sept. 9, 2016 - A unique non-profit partnership has recently developed and its first outreach is to help a third. Manatee County Habitat for Humanity and Manatee Reads! entered into a partnership to join forces to help promote their individual missions which seem to intertwine. This joint venture was formed as part of the upcoming Giving Challenge fundraiser taking place September 20-21.

“Building a Foundation Together” has become the theme of this union. Although they approach it from different angles, both organizations strive to provide independence and dignity to individuals in our community. Habitat for Humanity builds the foundation of a home. Manatee Reads! builds the foundation of the family by improving literacy skills. With their combined volunteer bases, they hope to initiate positive change in Manatee County.

“We are glad to partner with Manatee Reads! for the Giving Challenge and beyond to help each other achieve our goals,” says Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director of Manatee Habitat for Humanity.

Their first venture together involves Bradenton’s 13th Avenue Dream Center. Habitat for Humanity recently was awarded a literacy grant from the Rubbermaid Foundation to build mobile library carts and partner with a community organization to help support their literacy programs. The 13th Ave. Dream Center of United Community Centers was chosen for the literacy partner. Manatee Reads! has signed on to stock these library carts with reading material. “Although we focus on adult literacy, we are glad to provide any help in advancing literacy at any age level in Manatee County”, states Roger Boos, Manatee Reads! Board president.

The dedication of these new mobile library carts took place on Thursday September 8th at the Dream Center. The children and youths of the Dream Center used their artistic talent to paint and decorate these carts. They were then stocked with books provided by Manatee Reads! According to Alexdrena Green, COO of the Dream Center, “We are excited to collaborate with Manatee Reads! and Habitat for Humanity to make available literary resources to the youth and adults in the neighborhoods surrounding the 13th Avenue Dream Center. Through this partnership it is our hope to minimize the obstacles and barriers that prevent the development of life long readers and productive corporate citizens.”

Partnerships... different causes coming together for the good of the community.

 

 

 

We are Building!

Bealls employees volunteering on Habitat house for Nicole red shirtConstruction Underway in Bradenton. Volunteers are needed for all phases of construction.  Everyone is welcome!

Congratulations to Manatee County Habitat’s newest hardworking homebuyers! Yesenia’s house on 17th Ave. West is complete and Nicole’s house is well on its way just a couple blocks away on 10th St. West. These homebuyers are looking forward to working with their friends, neighbors and skilled Habitat volunteers to build a new house for their families. 

Britanny and the posted plans for her Habitat houseManatee Habitat's Women Build – a home built in a large part by women, has had the groundbreaking and will begin shortly. In addition to building, there will be fun contests and photo opportunities as girlfriends join forces to build a house for Brittany and her three girls.

For more information on volunteering or sponsorships, call (941)748-9100.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation Provides MCHFH with Grant

“Our partnership with Bank of America Charitable Foundation helps address a pervasive challenge in our community – the lack of decent affordable housing. This grant we’ve received will help us take a comprehensive approach to providing affordable housing by allowing us to build and rehabilitate houses while educating potential home buyers and mobilizing volunteers. Access to affordable, stable housing is the foundation to a family’s financial well-being,” Diana said.

Diana Shoemaker, Habitat Executive Director with Michele Charlet, Bank of America Asset Manager and Board Member for Manatee Habitat for Humanity.

boa charitable found

 

Affordable housing at forefront in Manatee County

IMG 1409Manatee - The type of affordable housing being built in Manatee County right now is the wrong kind of housing, according to Andy Reasoner, with Royal Palm Terrace Apartments.

“We have to build a different kind of housing to deal with low and very low (income) and especially homeless,” said Reasoner, who is on the county’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. “What we are building now economically will not work.”

On Monday afternoon, the advisory board tasked with reviewing Manatee County codes for any barriers to developing affordable housing in Manatee County got to work. The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, which is mandated by Florida Statute, met for the first time since Nov. 17, 2014.

Diana Shoemaker, executive director of Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, was appointed chairwoman of the advisory committee.

“You act as a liaison to make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners of any changes that are needed within Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan,” Denise Thomas, the county’s housing and community development coordinator, told the committee Monday. “Everybody has a different perspective of affordable housing and the needs. Each of you sees it from a different perspective.”

While the advisory board only has to meet at the minimum every three years, affordable housing is a large concern within Manatee County, according to Thomas.

“We are hearing from all audiences that there is a challenge of getting affordable housing,” she said. “The plight is there and each of you have a different interest and that is why we are here to address those concerns.”

The advisory committee will have to “think outside the box and come up with creative solutions,” said committee member Shaun Koby.

“We are going to have to create structures that are different and that make sense,” he said.

There are families living in cars on the street, according to Donald Hill with Turning Points.

“What we really need is some plan for these people to be able to afford to live,” he said. “They have no place to live. They are living in the streets.”

Commissioner Charles Smith, who attended Monday’s meeting, said Manatee County is lacking affordable housing.

“We are years behind,” he said. “It is not just homeless. It is not just the one who got in trouble with the law. It is the ones right here that can’t afford a home. ...We are looking at you for making recommendations to us. We need strong recommendations from the advisory board. We really need that.”

The commission will continue the housing discussion Tuesday when they will hear recommendations from county staff about ways to address the housing situation in the county. The work session begins at 9 a.m. in the Manatee Room of the county administration building.

Read more here

Habitat for Humanity works to create more affordable housing in Manatee

tt habitat 1Manatee - Shambria Smith wanted to have a place for her children to call home. As a single mother, the 26-year-old said it was a struggle to find a place she could afford in Manatee County.

“The ones that were affordable had a waiting list,” said Smith, who works at United Cerebral Palsy.

This past June, Smith became Manatee County Habitat for Humanity’s 125th homeowner when she moved into her Palmetto home with her daughters, 5-year-old Reniya and 3-year-old Paris.

“I am home and this is my house for me and my children,” said Smith, who helped build her home.

Now, Smith said she wants to volunteer with Habitat to help provide other families with stable housing.

“The way I felt, I would love to give to someone else,” she said.

Habitat knows they have the families who need permanent affordable housing, but the demand continues to outpace the supply, said Diana Shoemaker, the nonprofit’s executive director.

“We know we have the families,” she said. “That’s not the problem. It’s all these resources to have the corporate contributions and the donor contributions to fund the house construction of it.”

Programs such as the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program, which allows businesses to reinvest their tax dollars into their community for affordable housing, help Habitat fund construction costs. Access to land on a more regular basis would also help, Shoemaker said.

The tax credit program was an incentive for Bealls, which participated in the program for Smith’s house as part of its Centennial Celebration.

“We were able to provide hundreds of hours and got a sizable tax credit for doing it,” said Bill Webster, Bealls’ director of public and government affairs. “It was beneficial for us, but mostly it was beneficial for the community. You can either pay it to Tallahassee or you can pay it to Habitat. We decided we much rather support our hometown by doing it that way than throwing in with other tax payments. It is a great program.”

While Habitat has enough property now to build for all the families in the queue right now, there are more than 150 families waiting to even have a conversation about a Habitat home, Shoemaker said.

“They haven’t applied yet,” she said. “These are people that want to talk to us about affordable housing. We just can’t keep the people on the waiting list for that long. These are people waiting to have this conversation about stable, decent, affordable housing.”

Habitat is now looking at its model from a neighborhood revitalization perspective, focusing on infill development and looking at trying to create a greater density, Shoemaker said.

“We are trying to shift our model to make sure that we address more families and I think we are just looking for the partnerships to help us do that,” she said.

Focus shifts to city of Bradenton

For the next 18 months to two years, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity will be working in the city of Bradenton around McKechnie Field. The nonprofit plans to add eight homes to the area, which was made possible with a Community Development Block Grant through the city coupled with the nonprofit’s own funds.

“It is going to be infill,” Shoemaker said. “It happens to be in the same area, which really helps the city because it addresses the city’s needs to build in this area for affordable housing. It also helps us because we are sort of congregated in the same area with our building.”

Work is already underway on one of the homes on 17th Avenue West and the foundation should be laid this month, according to Shoemaker.

“For us, the conversation is with the city about how can we address the affordable housing requirements that they have while also meeting the form-based code requirements,” she said. “That’s the conversation we are having now with them to make sure we build up to code but also to build as many homes as we can in the area to address as many families as we can.”

Habitat is hoping that the investment they are making in the section of Bradenton in the next couple years could spur others to want to also revitalize the neighborhood, said Amy Van Dell, Habitat’s resource development manager.

“So if other people say, ‘Well jeez this neighborhood is coming up. I’m going to fix my house up,’” she said. “Hopefully it will raise all boats by Habitat making its investment there.”

Pointing to the groundbreaking for the homes, it is already happening, Shoemaker said.

“We are already starting to see the community come together and have interest and investment in the fact that Habitat is going to be there,” she said.

County to continue affordable housing discussion

A state-mandated advisory board tasked with reviewing Manatee County codes for any barriers to developing affordable housing in Manatee County will get to work at 3 p.m. Monday.

“It is basically to go over what their responsibility is, which is to review the Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan regarding housing elements to determine if there are any barriers to affordable housing or any other types of incentives we need to look at to further or enhance affordable housing,” said Denise Thomas, the county’s housing and community development coordinator. “It is kind of a coordinated effort basically providing recommendations to Board of County Commissioners of things we can consider. We have a very diverse board.”

On Tuesday, the county commission will wrap its “All Things Housing” work session series when they will hear staff recommendations based on what has been said at previous work sessions, according to Thomas.

In addition to recommendations, the board will also hear about some barriers that currently exist, Thomas said.

“Some of the things that might currently hinder us being able to move forward and what needs to change or has to change,” she said.

Read article on Bradenton Herald

Manatee Habitat a Key Provider of Affordable Housing

Thanks to Christopher Willie for last Sunday’s editorial “Progress on affordable housing.” Manatee County Habitat for Humanity knows what families are facing. We also know that there are solutions that work.

For 22 years Manatee Habitat has been providing a solution for affordable housing to a segment of working families in our community. It’s a housing model that has provided 125 working families with a long-term solution to their housing needs.

Contrary to what some believe, Manatee Habitat does not give away homes. What Habitat has always done and will continue to do is build and sell sustainable, affordable homes to qualifying home buyers. Home buyers who meet financial guidelines, complete “sweat equity” hours and save an escrow account to pay their insurance and taxes.

For the next two years, Habitat will be building homes in the City of Bradenton, thanks to a Community Development Block Grant from the city to purchase property.

Habitat can’t solve the housing problem, but we can do our part by providing 8-10 additional families with safe, decent, permanent housing. As support from the community through volunteers, donations and corporate partnerships increases, we can do even more.

We look forward to being “at the table” as a partner in developing a spectrum of affordable housing options for all individuals and families seeking to live in Manatee County.

DIANA SHOEMAKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

BRADENTON

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article94115072.html#storylink=cpy

Segregated housing in Manatee: ‘Criminal’ Conditions

Didi Hager has never received a call from someone who has felt discriminated when trying to find housing in Manatee County. Yet the family services manager at Manatee County Habitat for Humanity has seen rental units that are “absolutely deplorable.”

During home visits for Habitat for Humanity, Hager has met with tenants paying upwards of $900 a month for places with no air conditioners, broken refrigerators and mold in the shower.

“In my estimation, it is criminal what these landlords are charging for places that are falling down around them,” she said. “They don’t qualify for a conventional mortgage and they are just exploited by landlords that know they have to have a place to live and can charge whatever they want to charge.”

These units are often segregated in certain parts of the county such as Oneco and Samoset.

“There are sections that are more segregated than others,” she said. “I do think that is a problem.”

As a way to identify barriers to fair housing, county officials are developing a plan for “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” in Manatee. Fair housing means protecting “people from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“It is going to include achievable tasks that we are going to be able to handle as a county government structure,” said Denise Thomas, the county’s housing and community development coordinator. “We can make an impact and make a difference and that is what we are trying to do.”

Areas along the urban core, both north and south of the Manatee River, are distinctly segregated in Manatee County, according to Bill O’Shea, project manager in the community development division of the county’s neighborhood services department.

“We have segregation of low-income people and housing, and the whole idea is that no matter what income level or race, you should have the same opportunity as anybody that has a higher income,” he said. “You are entitled to that under fair housing.”

Unlike previous fair housing plans that the county developed in 2005 and 2010, Manatee County will be held more accountable by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which requires the plan for the county to receive Community Development Block Grant funding.

Read more: http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article91321652.html


Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article91321652.html#storylink=cpy

“HUD has taken a different viewpoint on fair housing and they are going to make local government accountable,” Thomas said. “They are going to look for outcomes. We definitely want to have some measurable outcomes.”

Manatee County will be measured annually on whether it is making improvements, according to O’Shea.

“We are going to have action shown every year,” he said. “In this plan, we are going to have to think a little more focused and find things that are within our ability to achieve.”

Seeking resident input

As county officials work on the Fair Housing Plan, which will be submitted to HUD in January, they want to hear from residents about the housing market and barriers that may exist. A Survey Monkey has been created on the county’s website, mymanatee.org, so the public can give feedback until 5 p.m. Aug. 1.

“They are the ones that are experiencing it, and they are bringing that knowledge to surface so we can look at what can be done,” Thomas said. “We need to know what is done currently. Their voice is crucial to this process to identify the right things to identify the right remedies.”

Most of the information-gathering will be informal, but there will be an opportunity for additional public feedback before the plan goes before the county commission for approval.

“That survey is trying to see what the current state of fair housing in Manatee County is by people telling us of their experience of fair housing,” O’Shea said. “This is the first step to figure out how big the problem is. It is a problem everywhere. I think HUD’s goal is to do away with segregation.”

With the heightened accountability and responsibility that will now be required of Manatee County, this is not just another fair housing plan to put on a shelf, Thomas noted.

“It is citizen driven,” she said. “We don’t want to guess on it. We want them to tell us.”

Discrimination in Manatee

Based on feedback received from poeple being served at Turning Points in Bradenton, there seems to be a lot of discrimination taking place, according to Adell Erozer, executive director of the non-profit organization that provides services to Manatee’s homeless. And she points directly at landlords.

“They can pretty much cherry-pick who they want,” Erozer said. “While it might not look like discrimination, they are going to choose that person that will give them the greatest return. They are making a lot of assumptions, and that is where discrimination comes in many times.”

Discrimination is to blame for the county’s housing problems, says Commissioner Charles Smith.

“That is why we have the lack of affordable housing,” he said. “The housing situation in Manatee County has not been to the forefront. Most developments that we are approving, residents can’t afford to move in. Manatee County hasn’t done their fair share to make sure they have quality affordable housing. Affordable housing must be countywide in the unincorporated area.”

The Manatee County Housing Authority works to educate residents about fair housing through periodicals and newsletters, according to Willie Calhoun, the authority’s executive director. Within the next couple weeks, the agency will have a film showing in the office lobby as a tool to educate the public about fair housing.

“I think it is important that we help educate them, so they will know that housing is for everybody for everywhere,” he said. “It is not just in one location. Fair housing should be across the board for everybody. We try to educate the landlord as well as the tenant.”

The lack of affordable housing only exacerbates the homeless problem, Erozer said.

“We are talking about people that need a place to live while they are working,” she said. “I think that as your number of units available has decreased and the number of people competing for the number of units has increased it certainly has gotten worse because of the numbers. It is certainly more difficult for our people that we are trying to help find housing.”

Affordable equals fair

Some of the fair housing barriers can be addressed by building more affordable housing, O’Shea said.

“I think for us our best chance of probably doing something positive and getting more integration throughout the community is taking advantage of new development that is occurring,” he said. “It is occurring at a rapid rate.”

While the county has made some strides on the barriers identified in the 2010 Fair Housing Plan, there is no money allocated toward fair housing despite being mandated to have a plan as recipients of a federal grant.

“It is kind of hard to fund these things and do them at a local level because there is no money attached to them,” O’Shea said. “We identified things that we didn’t really have control over. The local fair housing enforcement would be a money issue.”

More affordable housing should be integrated into newer communities, he added.

“We’ve tried to encourage people to take advantage of our affordable housing program,” he said. “I think we can do a better job.”

Affordability is the most prominent barrier in Manatee County, according to Calhoun.

“Affordable housing is more of an issue right now,” he said. “That is the biggest complaint we get right now from our clientele.”

Through the housing authority’s Housing Choice Voucher rental payment assistance program, they serve 1,250 people in Manatee County but at least 900 are on the waiting list.

“There is not a whole lot of inventory out there,” Calhoun said. “The biggest concern right now is the inventory, availability of units. That is a big issue for existing clients and waiting list clients.”

Until affordable housing is built to help address the issues, there will continue to be issues, Smith said.

“The bottom line is Manatee County has to have action money set aside for affordable housing, and we don’t have that in place,” he said. “We need to have a plan in place. There is no plan to build affordable housing. ... Affordable housing is a public safety issue. Going into 2017, it is going to be the biggest issue.”


Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article91321652.html#storylink=cpy

“HUD has taken a different viewpoint on fair housing and they are going to make local government accountable,” Thomas said. “They are going to look for outcomes. We definitely want to have some measurable outcomes.”

Manatee County will be measured annually on whether it is making improvements, according to O’Shea.

“We are going to have action shown every year,” he said. “In this plan, we are going to have to think a little more focused and find things that are within our ability to achieve.”

Seeking resident input

As county officials work on the Fair Housing Plan, which will be submitted to HUD in January, they want to hear from residents about the housing market and barriers that may exist. A Survey Monkey has been created on the county’s website, mymanatee.org, so the public can give feedback until 5 p.m. Aug. 1.

“They are the ones that are experiencing it, and they are bringing that knowledge to surface so we can look at what can be done,” Thomas said. “We need to know what is done currently. Their voice is crucial to this process to identify the right things to identify the right remedies.”

Most of the information-gathering will be informal, but there will be an opportunity for additional public feedback before the plan goes before the county commission for approval.

“That survey is trying to see what the current state of fair housing in Manatee County is by people telling us of their experience of fair housing,” O’Shea said. “This is the first step to figure out how big the problem is. It is a problem everywhere. I think HUD’s goal is to do away with segregation.”

With the heightened accountability and responsibility that will now be required of Manatee County, this is not just another fair housing plan to put on a shelf, Thomas noted.

“It is citizen driven,” she said. “We don’t want to guess on it. We want them to tell us.”

Discrimination in Manatee

Based on feedback received from poeple being served at Turning Points in Bradenton, there seems to be a lot of discrimination taking place, according to Adell Erozer, executive director of the non-profit organization that provides services to Manatee’s homeless. And she points directly at landlords.

“They can pretty much cherry-pick who they want,” Erozer said. “While it might not look like discrimination, they are going to choose that person that will give them the greatest return. They are making a lot of assumptions, and that is where discrimination comes in many times.”

Discrimination is to blame for the county’s housing problems, says Commissioner Charles Smith.

“That is why we have the lack of affordable housing,” he said. “The housing situation in Manatee County has not been to the forefront. Most developments that we are approving, residents can’t afford to move in. Manatee County hasn’t done their fair share to make sure they have quality affordable housing. Affordable housing must be countywide in the unincorporated area.”

The Manatee County Housing Authority works to educate residents about fair housing through periodicals and newsletters, according to Willie Calhoun, the authority’s executive director. Within the next couple weeks, the agency will have a film showing in the office lobby as a tool to educate the public about fair housing.

“I think it is important that we help educate them, so they will know that housing is for everybody for everywhere,” he said. “It is not just in one location. Fair housing should be across the board for everybody. We try to educate the landlord as well as the tenant.”

The lack of affordable housing only exacerbates the homeless problem, Erozer said.

“We are talking about people that need a place to live while they are working,” she said. “I think that as your number of units available has decreased and the number of people competing for the number of units has increased it certainly has gotten worse because of the numbers. It is certainly more difficult for our people that we are trying to help find housing.”

Affordable equals fair

Some of the fair housing barriers can be addressed by building more affordable housing, O’Shea said.

“I think for us our best chance of probably doing something positive and getting more integration throughout the community is taking advantage of new development that is occurring,” he said. “It is occurring at a rapid rate.”

While the county has made some strides on the barriers identified in the 2010 Fair Housing Plan, there is no money allocated toward fair housing despite being mandated to have a plan as recipients of a federal grant.

“It is kind of hard to fund these things and do them at a local level because there is no money attached to them,” O’Shea said. “We identified things that we didn’t really have control over. The local fair housing enforcement would be a money issue.”

More affordable housing should be integrated into newer communities, he added.

“We’ve tried to encourage people to take advantage of our affordable housing program,” he said. “I think we can do a better job.”

Affordability is the most prominent barrier in Manatee County, according to Calhoun.

“Affordable housing is more of an issue right now,” he said. “That is the biggest complaint we get right now from our clientele.”

Through the housing authority’s Housing Choice Voucher rental payment assistance program, they serve 1,250 people in Manatee County but at least 900 are on the waiting list.

“There is not a whole lot of inventory out there,” Calhoun said. “The biggest concern right now is the inventory, availability of units. That is a big issue for existing clients and waiting list clients.”

Until affordable housing is built to help address the issues, there will continue to be issues, Smith said.

“The bottom line is Manatee County has to have action money set aside for affordable housing, and we don’t have that in place,” he said. “We need to have a plan in place. There is no plan to build affordable housing. ... Affordable housing is a public safety issue. Going into 2017, it is going to be the biggest issue.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara & Bruce Kopp

Barbara and Bruce Kopp began as volunteers with Manatee Habitat during the construction of the very first home in the Palmetto Habitat community, Village of the Palms. In addition to serving on the Family Services Committee, Barb has been a mentor to new Habitat families who qualify for the homebuyer program. If there is ever a need, Barbara is always there to lend a hand, provide a contact or render sound advice.

Bruce has shared his photography skills taking photos at home dedications and other Habitat events. Bruce and Barbara have attended and helped at each Habitat Home Dedication and volunteer at the annual Habitat Families Christmas Celebration. Didi Hager, Family Services Manager says, "Barb and Bruce are an integral part of the Family Services Committee and I appreciate their dedication and their love of Habitat."

Manatee Habitat Dedicates 125th Home

shambria smithManatee Habitat's 125th Home Dedication took place June 18th, 2016 at 1180 3rd Ave. W., in Palmetto. Shambria Smith and her two daughters Reniya, 5 and Paris, 3, are the proud new homeowners. Shambria has put in over 300 hours of labor with Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.

The dedication was a wonderful representation of the community that comes together to build a Habitat home. In attendance at the dedication were Habitat Board members and volunteers, family and friends of Shambria, Bealls employees who sponsored the home and provided volunteer labor, next door neighbor Mrs. Jefferson, also a recipient of Habitat services, and future Habitat homebuyers.

This home was made possible by Bealls, Inc., which sponsored this project through the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTCP). This program allows Florida businesses to put their tax dollars to work in their community. Publix Super Markets Charities, Inc., a dedicated partner of Habitat, provided a grant of $35,000 to complete Shambria's new home.

---

Shambria with Joe DesRosier, Director of Central Operations for Bealls, with Shambria at the dedication. Bealls gave us 34 employees who worked 209 hours on Shambria's house.Shambria's Story

Shambria is a single parent and is employed full time by United Cerebral Palsy, where she has worked for the past two years. Shambria has been persistent in pursuing the dream of owning her own home. She came to our organization in 2013, and applied, but didn’t meet all of the requirements. She worked hard to qualify and is now a proud Habitat homeowner. Shambria is the perfect example of "where there is a will, there is a way."

Shambria has attended classes, accumulated her escrow money and completed her hours on the job site. As a matter of fact, if you ever saw her on the job site, you would know that she's not a quitter. She has worked on her home tirelessly; from the inside of the home, to the outside and even on the roof, Shambria was there to do what needed to be done. 

Congratulations, Shambria, Reniya, and Paris!

 

Pictured top: Shambria and daughters Reniya, 5 and Paris, 3. Pictured bottom: Shambria with Joe DesRosier, Director of Central Operations for Bealls, with Shambria at the dedication. Bealls gave us 34 employees who worked 209 hours on Shambria's house.

ReStore Spaces Event Recap

michael saunders teamThank you to everyone who attended the first annual Manatee Habitat ReStore Spaces event on May 19th! Close to 200 were in attendance to enjoy the evening at the Hardin ReStore.

Thank you to the five hard-working teams that donated their own time and resources to refurbish and repurpose the items they chose from the Manatee Habitat ReStores. They had approximately two months to work on the items for their rooms outside of the store, and five days to stage their rooms. Teams included:

  • Fawley-Bryant - Winner of Community Choice Award (online voting challenge)
  • MOTS (Manasota Operation Troop Support) Military Moms - Winner of Golden Hammer Award
  • Michael Saunders/Early Learning Coalition (pictured right) - Winner of People’s Choice Award
  • SCFCS (State College of Florida Collegiate School)/Culver’s
  • Junk King

A special thank you to our celebrity judges:

  • Lulu (from 92.1 CTQ)
  • The Honorable Betsy Benac
  • Pat Shemek-Bradenton Herald
  • Chris Brantley-ABC7
  • Judith Williams-Owner of 6 Fifi’s stores

A big thank you to our sponsors of the event:

Title Sponsor - Lowe’s - Don Novak, assistant manager for the Lowe’s store on Cortez in Bradenton, and Manatee Habitat, have developed a wonderful partnership through this event. His store provided all the building materials for the 7 vignettes and the green carpet as attendees walked into the store. Mr. Novak provided all the extension cords and personally wired up the vignettes for electricity the day of the event. If you noticed the huge ReStore Spaces sign as you walked into the store, Lowe’s had the painting commissioned and built the “easel” for it to rest on. Thank you, Lowes of Bradenton!

Other Sponsors:

  • Gold Coast Eagle
  • Primo! Ristorante
  • Culver’s
  • PepsiCo
  • Walmart Neighborhood Market on SR70
  • Pandora at UTC
  • Green Cooling Solutions
  • Allstate
  • Anthony’s Cooling – Heating – Electric
  • Junk King
  • Bradenton Kiwanis
  • Sherri’s Island Images

Thank you to many others who donated silent auction items!

At the conclusion of the event, Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director commented, “Tonight truly was a community event- from the committee planning it, to the teams creating their rooms, our local celebrity judges involved, and most importantly, all the guests who attended. This is a real representation of the importance that community plays in the mission of Manatee Habitat for Humanity impacting families.”

Photos by Sherri's Island Images Photography

Featured Habitat Volunteer for May: Liam Cunningham

liam cunninghamManatee Habitat’s Volunteer Spotlight for the month of May is Liam Cunningham. Liam is an 18-year-old young man who took a year off after high school graduation to save some money and as he explains, “get a feel for the world and what I want to do in life.”

Liam’s parents require that all their children spend one year giving back to the community by performing some type of volunteer service. His parents have instilled in their children the value of developing life experience and the philosophy that “money isn’t everything.” Liam believes that there is honor and reward in giving to others and expects nothing in return. He has had the opportunity to see the lives of those he touched and to appreciate the value of a warm smile and a sincere thank you. Liam states that this fulfillment at the end of the day is more valuable than worldly success.

While Manatee Habitat congratulates Liam on his acceptance to Christendom College in Virginia, we will sorely miss his dedicated work ethic, cheerful demeanor, and engaging personality.

Volunteer of the Month: March 2016

joyce kouba volunteer of the monthManatee Habitat would not be able to accomplish our vision and mission without the assistance of our most precious asset-our volunteers.

Our Volunteer of the Month is Joyce Kouba.  Joyce and her husband began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 2000. Joyce realized the value of the Habitat ReStores and was instrumental in opening the ReStore on Hardin. ReStores are home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public. If you visit the ReStore on Hardin, Joyce can be found three days per week measuring draperies and other linens, painstakingly preparing them for resale. Proceeds from the Habitat Restores help cover administrative expenses so that all donor dollars can go to building Habitat homes.

When asked why she spends her time volunteering with Manatee Habitat, Joyce said, “When you build homes and give children a stable environment, they blossom. Habitat makes a very large impact on children. The kids do better in school, have increased self-confidence and become happy and productive people.” 

Joyce and her husband like to travel to national parks where they hike and take photographs. She also enjoys sewing in her free time. Joyce has been secretary of the Siesta Key Association for many years and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous other volunteer awards from Manatee Habitat.

If you would like more information on how you can impact your community through volunteering with Manatee Habitat, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Stephanie Hansum at (941) 748-9100 Ext 110 or at   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Manatee Habitat's Thrivent Builds Home Dedicated

Thrivent Builds Homeowner Wilna RemilusIn February, Manatee Habitat's Thrivent Builds home in Palmetto was dedicated. Wilna Remilus, the new homeowner, is a second generation Habitat homeowner. Her mother, Francois, lives in Village of the Palms. Wilna is thrilled to be a homeowner in order to provide a safe, affordable home for herself and her 10 year old daughter, Lara. Wilna is no stranger to what it takes to qualify and become a Habitat homeowner. She was very involved in the construction of her mother's home and is ready to take on the task of building her own home. Wilna's mother will be available to return the favor by helping to build her daughter's home.

Manatee Habitat was awarded $57,500 from Thrivent Financial to support the Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity program, an on-going multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent Financial, which helps create safe, decent, affordable housing across the globe.

“It is inspiring to work alongside Habitat families, Thrivent members and others to build and repair homes,” said Tom Reagin, a financial representative with Thrivent Financial, “Sharing our time and talents helps us live generously and strengthen our community.” Thrivent Financial is committing $12 million nationally to the 2015 partnership, which will be used to serve families and mobilize volunteers through three programs: Thrivent Builds Homes, Thrivent Builds Worldwide and Thrivent Builds Repairs.

Read more about the Thrivent Builds program here.

Housing, street improvements among funding priorities for Manatee County community development block grants

0301 brloc grant1Via Bradenton Herald - With the help of community development block grants, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity has been able to provide affordable homes to more residents.

The nonprofit, which is currently receiving CDBG money from Bradenton to purchase a few lots in the city, is hoping to receive more grant money next year to get even more residents into homes, said Diana Shoemaker, the organization's executive director.

"We are continuing to look for funding opportunities in the area of affordable housing, community development and economic development," she said.

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity was one of several nonprofits at Manatee County and Bradenton's CDBG workshop Monday. CDBG funds can be used toward infrastructure, homeowner rehabilitation, public facilities improvements and public service projects, according to grant information.

County and city officials explained the application process, including reporting requirements, reimbursement procedures and agency responsibilities.

For the 2016-17 fiscal year, Manatee County has been allocated an estimated $2.23 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the three funds: HOME Investment Partnership, CDBG and Emergency Solutions Grant funds. Applications are due 5 p.m. March 14.

Bradenton is expected to received approximately $385,000 in CDBG funds and city grant applications are due March 28.

"We try to do a very large public outreach," said Bill O'Shea, project manager in the community development division of the county's neighborhood services department. "It's supposed to be what the people want. Each year we have to do an action plan and that's why you are here today."

As Manatee County is in the final year of the five-year consolidated plan, this year's funding priorities are those in the plan that have either not been addressed at all or ones that need more money to be allocated, O'Shea said. The county's funding priorities include public facilities, employment/job training, housing assistance and street improvements. Bradenton's funding priorities are affordable housing, homeless needs and economic development.

"We have to make sure we get the money out," said Denise Thomas, the county's housing and community development coordinator. "The whole purpose of being here is to provide a service. You got to know what you are going to do and be able to do it."

The projects are selected based on citizen input. Residents can share their opinion about what should be included in the 2016-17 annual action plan Thursday from 1-3 p.m. at South Manatee Library, 6081 26th St. W., Bradenton, and March 10 from 6-7 p.m. at Tillman Elementary School, 1415 29th St. E., Palmetto.

For more information, call 941-749-3029.

Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.

Manatee's Habitat for Humanity to help revitalize Washington Park

"We've worked with the residents, existing homeowners to help with the exterior portions of the home," said Diana Shoemaker, Habitat's Executive Director.

The funding comes from the Community Redevelopment Agency and input from on resident in particular.

"We are joining hands together," said May Lizzie Jennings. She's lived here her entire life and started the Neighbors Helping Neighbors group. Their job: keeping trash off the street, yards cleaned and trees trimmed. She's now joining forces with Habitat for Humanity, looking to revitalize the area and more.

"We are looking for business to come here, jobs [to be created.]" Shoemaker says the key to make this happen is getting to know the neighbors in the small community and eventually making a positive impact.

"What are the assets in this community, what's already working here and how do we partner with the residents to build on those?"

Read more here

Thirty-Two Volunteers Donate Time for MLK Day of Service

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity received a $5000 grant from State College of Florida to be used for the MLK Day of Service on January 18, 2016. Manatee Habitat used grant money to paint a house in Washington Park with its Brush with Kindness program. Over 32 Manatee Habitat Young Professionals, SCF Collegiate School's National Honor Society, and Washington Park community members contributed their time to the cause.

To volunteer with Manatee Habitat, contact Stephanie Hansum at 748-9100 ext 104 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MLK Day of Service
mlk-award
mlk-day-of-service

Volunteer of the Month: January 2016

Michelle PolitoManatee Habitat would not be able to accomplish our vision and mission without the assistance of our most precious asset-our volunteers. Because we value our volunteers, Manatee Habitat will begin featuring one outstanding volunteer each month.

Our January spotlight highlights Manatee Habitat volunteer Michelle Polito.  Originally a native of Connecticut, Michelle and her husband relocated to a warmer climate in 2005 and currently reside in Parrish. Michelle retired after a 36 year career at IBM, performing many tasks during her tenure, including Finance and Project Management.  Manatee Habitat is not her first volunteer opportunity. In Connecticut, she utilized her experience to teach non-profits Project Management skills. In addition to Habitat, Michelle also spends her time volunteering at Art Center Manatee.  When she is not serving her community, Michelle likes to throw pottery, paint and travel. When asked why she chose Manatee Habitat, Michelle stated that she likes the Habitat organization's mission of helping families achieve their dream of home ownership. Michelle volunteers in the ReStore and supports the administrative staff with events.

If you would like more information on how you can impact your community through volunteering with Manatee Habitat, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Stephanie Hansum at (941) 748-9100 Ext 110 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Manatee Habitat Receives #GivingTuesday Proclamation

heart-4-givingManatee County Habitat for Humanity accepted a proclamation on behalf of #GivingTuesday at the Board of County Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 9am. The proclamation designated December 1st, 2015 as a "DAY OF GIVING," celebrating philanthropy and volunteerism in Manatee County.   

Manatee Habitat for Humanity celebrated #GivingTuesday with the launch of the #Heart4Giving campaign which challenges citizens to create a video on why they give back to the community. This provides an additional opportunity to recognize the tremendous impact of individual giving in Manatee County. Manatee Habitat encourages citizens to serve others throughout the holiday season and the entire year. Individuals are encouraged to participate through the Manatee Habitat website and social media: Facebook: www.facebook.com/MCHFH   Twitter: twitter.com/ManateeHabitat

#GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, to kick-off the holiday giving season and to inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities and to give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support. 

Manatee Habitat Partners with Boar's Head to Build Home for Veteran

Boars Head EmployeesManatee County Habitat for Humanity is partnering with Boar’s Head Brand® to build a Habitat home for a local veteran and his family. Boar’s Head Brand employees began working alongside future Habitat homeowner Sgt. Juan Garcia on Saturday, Sept. 26, to construct the four bedroom home in Palmetto, Florida. In addition to their corporate sponsorship, Boar’s Head Brand has committed to providing 200 hours of volunteer labor to help build the home.

"Boar’s Head is a great partner," said Diana Shoemaker, Executive Director of Manatee Habitat. "Their commitment to this project exemplifies the company's desire to serve others and positively impact our community. It is a great match with the mission of Manatee Habitat, and we are thrilled to be working with them to assist Juan in obtaining his dream of building and purchasing his own home."

Twenty-two employees from Boar’s Head Brand worked on siding, roofing, painting and caulking, and more will perform additional tasks during two additional volunteer Saturdays in October. Children of employees also contributed to the day by providing baked goods and snacks for volunteers. At the end of the day, a Boar’s Head Brand Distributor provided hot lunches to the volunteers, including some of Garcia’s future neighbors.

"Boar’s Head Brand is proud to support Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, and is dedicated to giving back to the community where our employees work and live," said Elizabeth Ward, director of marketing and communications for Boar’s Head Brand.

Sergeant Garcia served in the Army as Armor Unit for over 10 years and was stationed in Kuwait, South Korea and Germany, and was also deployed to Iraq for 13 months. In addition to working full time, Garcia recently completed his associate degree from State College of Florida, and is currently working on his bachelor degree in criminology at the University of South Florida. The home is expected to be completed by mid-November so his family can be in their new home for Thanksgiving and the holidays.

Why I Donate: Volunteering turns into a Passion

debra-p-blogDebra Pashkowsky arrived at a Manatee County Habitat for Humanity jobsite in 2012, just weeks after she handed in her resignation at her former desk job at the County Clerk’s office. “I always knew I was going to volunteer at Habitat when I retired,” noted Debra. After falling in love with Habitat that first day, she began volunteering regularly. She is a well-rounded Habitat volunteer; working on the Family Services Committee, in the administrative office, and she has also been out on the jobsite.

Early on in her time with Manatee Habitat, Debra was introduced to the Women Build program.  Women Build, underwritten by Lowe’s, is a program of Habitat for Humanity International that empowers women to address the crisis of children in poverty by building homes with families in need. Women volunteers lead all aspects of projects - including construction, fundraising and marketing. Debra was so motivated by the new construction skills she was learning, and so inspired by all of the Habitat families around her who were fulfilling their dreams of homeownership, that she decided to pursue one of her lifelong dreams for herself.

Utilizing the skills she learned on the jobsite, Debra began woodworking and repurposing old furniture and pallets. Soon she was creating furniture, art, fixtures, decor and more. “I never thought I would be using power tools,” she said, “and now I have a garage full of them!” Debra was enjoying her projects so much that she decided to open her own business, named Shoppe No. 5. “I started taking classes at Suncoast Technical College, learning how to start my own blog and Etsy business,” she stated, noting that her inventory will be available soon on her site, ShoppeNo5.com.
View some of Debra’s pieces on Instagram.

Debra’s first stop when searching for materials is, of course, the Manatee Habitat ReStore. “I tell everyone to go to the ReStore when looking for anything,” she laughed, “I comb through both stores all the time. I want everyone to donate to Manatee Habitat if you can. Donate time, donate money, donate to the ReStore... just donate. I see all of these homeowners’ dreams coming true. Now mine is, too, because of Habitat.”

debra-p-blog-items

#WhyIDonateMCHFH

Ground Broken on Thrivent Build Home

thrivent-buildManatee Habitat kicked off a Faith Build in collaboration with the Thrivent Builds Program with a ground breaking ceremony on June 16th, 2015. The location of the future Habitat home is 1212 3rd Ave W, Palmetto. Habitat homeowner candidate Wilna Remilus is excited to begin work on her future home. Also present for the ground breaking was local clergy and Tom Reagin, Community Engagement Leader with Thrivent Financial.

Thrivent Builds is an on-going multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between Habitat International and Thrivent Financial, which helps create safe, decent and affordable housing. Partial funding for the home is being provided through a grant from Thrivent Builds. Since 2005, Thrivent Financial and its members have committed $213 million and 4.4 million volunteer hours. Local volunteers from a variety of churches in the community will be invited to participate in this Faith Build. The home is expected to be completed by December 2015.

wilna-webWilna, the future homeowner, is a second generation Habitat homeowner. Her mother, Francois, lives in Village of the Palms. Wilna is thrilled to qualify and become a homeowner in order to provide a safe, affordable home for herself and her 10 year old daughter, Lara. Wilna is no stranger to what it takes to qualify and become a Habitat homeowner. She was very involved in the construction of her mother's home and is ready to take on the task of building her own home. Wilna's mother will be available to return the favor by helping to build her daughter's home.

Manatee Habitat has been awarded $57,500 from Thrivent Financial to support the Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity program, an on-going multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership between Habitat for Humanity International and Thrivent Financial, which helps create safe, decent, affordable housing across the globe.

“It is inspiring to work alongside Habitat families, Thrivent members and others to build and repair homes,” said Tom Reagin, a financial representative with Thrivent Financial, “Sharing our time and talents helps us live generously and strengthen our community.” Thrivent Financial is committing $12 million nationally to the 2015 partnership, which will be used to serve families and mobilize volunteers through three programs: Thrivent Builds Homes, Thrivent Builds Worldwide and Thrivent Builds Repairs.

Read more about the Thrivent Builds program here.

Habitat Dedicates Home 119

cruz-family-webOn June 6, 2015, Manatee Habitat dedicated house number 119 and home to Millie Cupeles and Jose Cruz and their 2 sons. Thanks to sponsors Bank of America and PepsiCo. Andy Minor presented a plaque to the family on behalf of Bank of America. Michael Martz from PepsiCo and Habitat Board members gave the family a lovely housewarming gift. Millie and Jose worked a total of 500 hours of sweat equity to be eligible to purchase their Habitat home. 

Jose Luis Rodriguez Cruz and Miligros (Millie) Cabrera Cupeles are married and have two sons ages 12 & 13. Both boys are “A” students. Joshua is in the 8th Grade and Michael is in the 6th grade, and both attend Electa Lee Middle School. Jose works for Florida Marine Research, Inc. in Sarasota. Miligros is a stay at home mom.

Their previous housing situation was very poor. They lived in a tough neighborhood on 8th Street Court, East in Bradenton that is drug infested and crime ridden. They are paying $625 for a very small, two bedroom, one bath home. The heating and air was unsatisfactory and the lighting in the home is very poor. Habitat is thrilled to help provide them a new, safe home in which to live.

Veteran Build Program Welcomes Juan Garcia and his Family

juan-garcia-familyOn Tuesday, February 24th at noon Manatee Habitat breaks ground on the first Habitat home being built for a local veteran. The ceremony will take place at 2004 7th Ave W, Palmetto, the site of the future home for Juan Garcia and his family. Construction begins immediately on the 4 bedroom home and is expected to be completed in October 2015.

Sgt. Garcia and his family have qualified for Manatee Habitat’s homebuyer program making them eligible for a no-interest mortgage from Habitat to purchase the home upon its completion. Juan is the first Veteran to have qualified for the Manatee Habitat’s homebuyer program designed to help low-income working families create a strong and secure future for their children and themselves. Through the Manatee Habitat homebuyer program, families who would not otherwise qualify for conventional mortgages have the opportunity to build and purchase their first home.

Sergeant Garcia served in the Army as Armor Unit for 10 1/2 years and was stationed in Kuwait, South Korea and Germany and was also deployed to Iraq for 13 months.  In addition to working full time, Juan recently completed his AS degree from State College of Florida and is working on completing his AA degree.   He plans to continue his education at USF and earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology.

Veteran groups, local corporations and Habitat supporters have pledged both financial and volunteer support for the build project.  To date, more than $40,000 has been raised for the construction of the home. Additional donations for the Veteran Build can be made to Manatee Habitat at 4105 Cortez Road W., Bradenton or through the website here.

Vote for Habitat in the 2015 People's Choice Awards

Vote for Manatee County Habitat for Humanity in the 2015 People's Choice Awards!Vote in the Bradenton Herald People's Choice Awards

Bradenton Herald's annual People's Choice Awards voting is open! Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is nominated for the following categories:

FAVORITE THRIFT STORE -- our ReStores won this title last year
FAVORITE CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION -- Manatee Habitat won second place last year
FAVORITE USED FURNITURE -- we are excited to be new entrants in this category

Please CLICK HERE to vote. Voting is open through January 31, 2015! Thank you!

 

 

Habitat Partnering with Home Depot to Repair Bradenton Vets Home

Manatee Habitat is partnering with the Home Depot Foundation in a Veteran Repair project that will  provide acritical home repair for a local Bradenton veteran.  Lonnie Dixon, an army veteran who served in the National Guard from 1964-1985, is receiving assistance from the program with the help of Habitat and Hope Depot volunteers.   Renovations to the Dixon home will include an upgrade to their one bathroom to accommodate Mrs. Dixon’s wheelchair.   Volunteers are working mornings on site at the Dixon home .  The project is expected to be completed by end of June.

Manatee Habitat is one of 84 Habitat affiliates selected to participate in Habitat for Humanity International’s Repair Corps, a project funded by The Home Depot Foundation and designed to support U.S. veterans in need of home repair.   The foundation is funding the project with a $2.7 million cash and in-kind gift card donation. Home repair grants will be allocated in amounts up to $15,000 for each Repair Corps project.  The program grant covers the cost of a variety of repairs that could include roofing and weather stripping to the installation of wheelchair ramps and renovated bathrooms and doorways to accommodate disabled veterans.  Habitat for Humanity’s Repair Corps is part of a three-year, $30 million investment The Home Depot Foundation is making to multiple organizations to help ease the burdens of military veterans by repairing and renovating homes and public facilities for military veterans.

For more information contact Didi Hager at 748-9100 ext 102.

Women Build Home Dedication June 8th

315-300x150Homeowner Ana Reyes standing outside her Habitat home with Volunteer Coordinator Ogden Clark and Construction Manager Bruce Winter

Please join us Saturday, June 8th at 12pm at Hope Landing in Ellenton, for the Habitat home dedication ceremony for our newest homeowner Ana Reyes and her family.  This home marks the completion of the Manatee Habitat Women Build!  Home dedications bring together volunteers who have worked on the home, donors who have helped support us financially, the future homeowner and Habitat community friends to celebrate and honor all those who have made this home a reality. Join us June 8th for this special community gathering. 

For more information or directions to Hope Landing contact Mariah, at 941-748-9100 ext 107 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New ABWK roofing project!

Our Team began work to repair Vera Taylor’s roof recently as part of our “A Brush With Kindness Program”. The homeowner pays us a percentage of the cost of the repairs, and our outstanding volunteer team donates their labor to help make the project affodable for the homeowner. Find out how you can be a part of projects like this by contacting Ogden Clark, our Volunteer Coordiantor at 941-748-9100 ext. 104

Vera-Taylor-Roof

 Check out our Facebook page for more pics and news! www.Facebook.com/MCHFH

Luncheon Honors Habitat Women

Manatee County Habitat for Humanity will host a luncheon on Friday March 8th highlighting the current Women Build project and celebrating International Women’s Day.   The luncheon, sponsored by Brighthouse Networks, will be held at the Palmetto Art Center, 907 5th Street W. in Palmetto from 11:45 to 1:00pm.   Featured guest speakers are Mary Dailey, co-chair of the “Through Women’s Eyes” film festival held in conjunction with the Sarasota Film Festival and Ana Reyes, future Habitat Homeowner.  Tickets are $25.00 and all proceeds benefit Manatee Habitat Women Build.

The Manatee Habitat Women Build project brings women from all walks of life together to actively address the issue of poverty housing.  The Women Build team is completing the last phase of construction on a 4-bedroom Habitat home at Hope Landing in Ellenton. Women volunteers are leading all aspects of the project including construction, fundraising and marketing.   For more information on the Manatee Habitat Women Build call 748-9100 ext 107.

To purchase tickets visit www.tinyurl.com/WomenBuildingHope

Spaghetti Dinner at St. Joseph’s was a success!

Sp-Dinner-300x224St Joseph’s Catholic Church  held its third annual Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday,  January 26th, 2013 raising  $1600 for Manatee Habitat for Humanity.  More than 200 parishioners and friends of Habitat enjoyed a meal prepared by John Muller-Thym and his team.  St Josephs church has partnered with Manatee Habitat since 2007 providing volunteers in construction and at the ReStore thrift shops. Thank you to everyone who made this possible!

Women Build Educational Workshop this Saturday!

Join us this Saturday, February 9th at 2 PM for our next educational workshop covering Exterior Painting and Caulking. The workshop will be held at the Lowe’s on 70 (7395 52nd Pl. East, Bradenton, FL 34203) from 2:00pm until 3:30pm. Click here to sign up! 

We will be having a ‘Painting Blitz’ the following Saturday, Feb. 16th from 7:30am-12:00 noon on the job site at Hope Landing (1647 38th Ave E, Ellenton Fl 34222 and hope to get most of Ana’s home painted that day. If you can’t make the Lowe’s class but would like to participate in the Painting Blitz please come out! To signup to Volunteer on the Jobsite click here!

If you have any questions please feel free to call or email.

Mariah Groome
Manatee County Habitat for Humanity
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
941-748-9100 ext 107

There is no cost to enroll, and supplies are provided by Lowe’s. No experience is necessary for volunteers who want to participate in the building of the Women Build home as well as the other 4 homes current under construction at Hope Landing   Volunteer opportunities are available at the worksite on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 7:30am-12pm.  To signup to Volunteer on the Jobsite click here

Women Build, underwritten by Lowe’s, is a program of Habitat for Humanity International that empowers women to address the crisis of children in poverty by building homes with families in need.  The Manatee Habitat Women Build project brings women from all walks of life together to actively address the issue of poverty housing.  Women volunteers are leading all aspects of the project including construction, fundraising and marketing.

Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner to benefit Manatee Habitat for Humanity

Meatballs-for-Spaghetti-300x200Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner to benefit Manatee Habitat for Humanity
Saturday February 2nd, 2013 

On  Saturday, February 2nd,  from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM in the St Joseph Parish Center, there will be a spaghetti and meatball dinner held to benefit the Habitat for Humanity Ministry here at St Joseph. Tickets are $8.00 per person and will be available at the conclusion of all masses the weekend of January 26th and at the entrance door the afternoon of the event, Saturday February 2nd 2013. Please come and join us for a great meal to benefit a great cause. Any questions should be directed to Jim Frame at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The address for St Joseph church is;  3100 26th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205.

God bless you all and thanks for your continued support of the Habitat for Humanity Ministry.

Women Build Lowe’s Class!

4-reading-bp-42-300x159Bradenton, FL (January 3, 2012, 2012) Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is calling for women volunteers to participate in a local Women Build project. Women Build, underwritten by Lowe’s, is a program of Habitat for Humanity International that empowers women to address the crisis of children in poverty by building homes with families in need.  Volunteers of all skill levels are encouraged to get involved.

To help volunteers get a jump-start on their building skills, Lowe’s is hosting How-To clinics. Clinics are open to members of the public who are interested in volunteering for our local Women Build. The next clinic “ Installing Siding” will be January 12th,  2:00pm- 3:30pm at Lowes, located at7395 52nd Pl. E., Bradenton, FL.   

There is no cost to enroll, and supplies are provided by Lowe’s. Volunteers will have an opportunity to utilize their skills on the jobsite Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 7:30am-12pm at Hope Landing.

The Manatee Habitat Women Build project brings women from all walks of life together to actively address the issue of poverty housing.  Women volunteers are leading all aspects of the project including construction, fundraising and marketing. 

To sign up or for more information visit www.tinyurl.com/WBLowesClass

Habitat Families Holiday Celebration

happy-holiday

Last weekend Habitat Families came together to celebrate the Holidays!

Thank you to our Volunteers, Donors, Board Members, and Staff for making this such special day for our Habitat families!  Santa even stoped by! We are so fortunate to be surrounded by such a loving, caring, devoted group.

Habitat-Christmas-Party

MTI Students came out to Volunteer on “A Brush with Kindness” Project

Bradenton Times Article
Manatee Spotlight December 9, 2012

Manatee Technical Institute Students in the Community

Fourteen Manatee Technical Institute students served as volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, as they helped a Citrus Meadows homeowner paint their home last week. The Brush for Kindness project helps homeowners with exterior repairs and maintenance when they need help for financial and often health related reasons.

MTI Drafting students Brooke Gore and Daniel Mitchell coordinated the student volunteer effort with Ogden Clark, the volunteer coordinator for Manatee County’s Habitat for Humanity. Homeowner Angel Butler called their work a “blessing.”  The students belong to the career and technical student organization SkillsUSA, which encourages service to community. Each plans to volunteer 25 hours toward this and other projects throughout the school year.


http://www.thebradentontimes.com/news/2012/12/09/community/manatee_spotlight_december_9_2012/

We are so grateful of all the student groups that come out and volunteer, we could not doit with out them!

Pin It

Follow Us On Twitter

 

Follow Us On Facebook