Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco's giving circle known as “Hunks with Hammers” is a group of 50 men that support Habitat’s mission of affordable housing. “Hunks with Hammers” was started by a Habitat supporter, Marc Banning of Banning Lumber and Millwork. Mr. Banning wanted a men’s group similar to the Habitat women’s giving circle “Hammers and Heels” also spear headed by donor and previous board member, Judy Mitchell.

This group of dedicated donors and volunteers has been active for almost two years. The first home is now under construction in St. Petersburg. The homeowner candidate is a single father of five. There are ten sponsors on this special build and many of them are companies owned by the members of the group. The men meet at local establishments around Pinellas County for strategy and socializing. The group is committed to building a second home next year but needs your support. To get more information please contact Jack Shanks at JShanks@HabitatPWP.org. Jack is happy to answer your questions and sign you up as a member.

The Habitat Home Repair Program is designed to offer Pinellas County homeowners home repairs in four essential repair categories: “Aging in Place” Modifications (ramps or accessibility upgrades designed to accommodate physical mobility limitations), Critical Home Repairs (roof replacement, plumbing, electric, structural repairs) Energy Efficiency Upgrades (insulation, HVAC) and Exterior Enhancements (paint, landscaping). Eligible homeowners will be provided a zero-percent interest loan to cover the cost of repairs, while the loan payment will be tailored to ensure affordability. 

With help from Habitat and a grant provided by Senior Citizen Services of Pinellas County, The Lorento Family was able to drastically improve their living situation after a series of tragic medical events. Read their home repair story below as told by Jaci Lorento:

"In January 2017, our lives drastically changed. My husband of 30 years had complications from gallbladder surgery and suffered a massive stroke. He spent 38 days in the intensive care and 30 days in sub acute rehab. They said that he was going to need to go to a nursing home and I said 'no'.

We brought him home in March 2017 and our family rallied together. You see, my husband and I had been through his cancer 30 years before and I knew that we were in line for a miracle but it would take God’s timing. Prior to the stroke, my husband was very fastidious about his appearance. He showered, shaved everyday and he was always matched from his clothes down to his sneakers! This recuperation has been long and tedious but the one thing that bothered him the most was a bed bath. Try as we could, we could not get his electric wheelchair through the bathroom doors to gain shower access. He did not have enough standing ability to hold on to anything to shimmy into the shower/water closet area in our master bedroom.

We had three estimates on what to do for a handicap accessible bathroom which were in the $40,000 range. We just didn’t have it. We didn’t have hardly anything because not only did he lose his business because of the stroke but he couldn’t even get disability. We were stuck.

I believe I had a divine revelation and I reached out to Habitat for Humanity. I asked if there was any way they could help us. Sean, Pattye and others were so wonderful. They tried different avenues and were willing to ‘think outside the box’. They were able to get a company that specialized in ceiling track lift systems for the disabled to install a system that could lift my husband out of his wheelchair, safely navigate him through the water closet door and into our shower. What a blessing! Now, my husband gets a nice hot shower every day and his morale has improved so much. Not only that but his skin condition and even his muscle spasms have improved. We will be forever grateful to Habitat for Humanity for assisting us in one of our darkest hours. They helped my husband smile again.

Thanks so much!

Chris, Jaci and the Lorento Family ~May 2019

  

To learn more about our Home Repair Program, please click here.

 

 

 

On Monday, June 3rd, 2019, representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, sponsors and elected officials will come together to celebrate the groundbreaking of a 75-lot affordable housing project in Pinellas Park. The project is the local affiliate’s largest development to date, and will provide 75 families the opportunity to thrive in safe and affordable homes.

Last June, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties acquired 7.3 acres located at the northeast corner of 68th Street and 62nd Avenue North in Pinellas Park for $2.1 million.

“Habitat for Humanity has been blessed over the years by tremendous community support,” says Mike Sutton, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties. “By working with Pinellas County and the City of Pinellas Park, the opportunity for homeownership will be realized by 75 local families in the next 2 years. We are proud to launch our largest development to date.”

Habitat will initially build 51 new affordable, energy efficient homes, with the first 15 homes starting within the coming weeks. The 7.3 acres also contains a number of residents living in mobile homes, but rather than displacing the homeowners, Habitat is providing them an opportunity to access the Habitat program or continue living on the property until they decide to move. Additional project goals include the construction of a new road as well as infrastructure improvements to the alleys between homes.

This neighborhood will offer 75 local families and individuals the opportunity to improve the paths of their family for generations to come. Candidates must demonstrate need for adequate shelter; have the ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and be willing to partner with Habitat to invest 350 to 450 sweat equity hours.

Wafaa and Alfrid are the proud parents of two sons, Mark and George. The family of four is very close, and enjoys spending time together. 

Mark is a student at the University of South Florida, and his younger brother is going to school at Clearwater High. The boys love playing soccer, going to school and being active. Wafaa and Alfrid work hard to provide for their family, and after being turned down for a home loan, they decided they needed a new path to build their family a better life.

The Bissada-Guirguis family currently lives in an expensive apartment that is too small, with the two boys sharing a room. Wafaa explains that their rent is almost half of their income, and month after month they have a difficult time trying to prioritize between bills and family needs.

After being accepted into the Habitat program, the family felt relief. “I was crying. I couldn’t believe it,” explained Wafaa. “I am very thankful to Habitat and our sponsor, Frenchy's Restaurants”.

She imagines their life will be very different once in their Habitat home. She looks forward to peace among the boys and making new memories together in their Habitat home. “Our kids will have their own rooms and we will own our own home”.

Habitat Home Sponsored by:

Join the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce for their 2nd Habitat Home Build!

Karen Filer has worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for the last 18 years. Despite her hard work, she has found herself moving from place to place due to rising rental costs. With your help, Karen will finally have a place she can call her forever home.

Do you want to build Strength, Stability and Self-Reliance for Karen Filer?

Your $500 donation will include:

  • Logo placement on all project marketing
  • Mention in Habitat's monthly newsletter and website
  • Up to 3 volunteer days for your team on the construction site
  • A commemorative gift for you to display at the end of the project
  • An invitation for you and your team to the dedication ceremony

Contact Stacey Efaw, VP of Development at sefaw@habitatpwp.org for more details.

Thank you to our current sponsors:

On Saturday, April 13th, nearly 500 attendees stepped outside the ordinary and into the enchanted world of Le Livre presented by Crown Automotive Group. Together, we were able to raise over $400,000 in support of Habitat’s mission to build homes, communities and hope.

Our VIP room designers recreated scenes from literary classics including Memoirs of a Geisha, The Color Purple and Where the Wild Things Are, and guests heard from the talented Jennifer Real and her band. The following design teams took top honors at the event for their creativity and design: MMD Events was awarded the Best of Blueprint honor for their Memoirs of a Geisha design, Extravaganza Productions was recognized for The Best Use of Theme for King Tut’s Curse, Cheers! Events was the Architect’s Choice recipient for Where the Wild Things Are and Udream Events received an Honorable Mention for their tribute to Randy Wayne White’s “Doc Ford” series of novels.

Tony Griffith, an award winning Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer, was awarded the Silver Nail Award. Tony’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco spans over 30 years with involvement in many capacities, from volunteer to Treasurer and President of the Board. Copperhead Charities, Inc. was awarded the Corporate Impact Legacy Award. The organization has supported charities through professional golf dating back to 1977, with funds generated exceeding $41 million.

We will begin construction on the five new homes supported by Blueprint Gala in the upcoming months. Stay tuned for details on these future homeowners throughout their remaining journey through our program.

To view photos from the event, click here.

Sophia is a hardworking single mother of four children. Sophia works as a CNA/Home Health Aide and loves spending time with her kids. “Anything to put a smile on their face is just amazing to me”.

Their current living situation is far from ideal. Their home is small and overcrowded, with the three sisters sharing one room.

“Being a single mother, it is very hard to afford a decent house for all my kids. It’s even more of a challenge to find a good neighborhood to raise my kids in. I just want the best for my kids and I know it starts with me and the work I put in for them.”

Wanting a better future for her children, Sophia applied to the Habitat program. When she was accepted, she was ecstatic. “I wanted to tell everyone. I had to thank God because I know if it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. It feels like such an accomplishment.”

Sophia has enjoyed completing her 350 sweat equity hours. “I have learned so much! I’ve learned to paint, lay down sod, put in cabinets; and so much I never knew. I enjoyed the landscaping the most, I love making families yard look great. Nothing has been hard, I enjoy every minute.”

Sophia and her kids are looking forward to making their new house a home together. “Habitat for Humanity is an amazing program, all the sweat and tears are worth every minute. Habitat made my dream come true.”

 

The Davis Family's home is sponsored by

Tony Griffith is a native Floridian born in Jacksonville, and raised in Melbourne Beach, Florida. He received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Finance from Florida State University. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from the Florida State University College of Law.

Tony has won numerous awards in the legal field for professional excellence and high ethical standards such as the Clearwater Bar Association Ralph Richards Award and the Barney Award. He has also been named as one of Florida's "Super Lawyers" by Super Lawyer Magazine and has been selected by Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida's "Legal Elite". He achieved an AV rating, the highest possible, by his peers for preeminence in legal abilities and ethical standards.

Tony’s involvement in the community includes work with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Springs of Hope Kenya, Sherriff Youth Ranch and he even teaches a weekly class in the local jails. Tony is also actively involved in his church. He has enjoyed coaching and youth ministry as well as the joy of raising 4 daughters with Carol, his wife of over 25 years.

Tony’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco spans over 30 years. He began in the late 1980’s as a volunteer on the construction sites. He then furthered his involvement by fundraising to build more homes. He got several churches and the Clearwater Bar Association to sponsor homes. Tony then joined the Habitat Board of Directors and served for five years. During this time he served as Treasurer and President. Today Tony continues to be a wonderful supporter and advocate for Habitat. Tony was recently awarded the Silver Nail Award at the 2019 Blueprint Gala.

When asked what inspires you about Habitat, Tony replied… “First it was the overall mission that attracted me- what everyone knows about Habitat. The heart of the volunteers, supporters and board members as I worked alongside them on homes drew me in further. Then it was getting to know and be awed and inspired by the homeowners and their courage, dedication and faith that really lit a fire for me. Ultimately I saw the core values (Theology of the Hammer) and depth of this Christian ministry that supports and loves and builds up all people regardless of their backgrounds, religious, social or other preferences and then I was hooked for life”.

 

 

We have partnered with Senior Citizens Services, Inc. to assist selected Pinellas County homeowners remedy minor code violations. Assistance is focused on property maintenance issues and is limited to exterior painting, fence repair/replacement and select yard maintenance.

Please apply or share today if you or someone you know meets the following criteria:

- Homeowner occupied home within Pinellas County
- 55 years old or older
- Have an active code violation 
- Household Income is below 80% AMI (see chart on website)
*Other additional eligibility criteria may need to be met.

Click here to apply TODAY as resources are limited.

Meet the Walker's - our 2018-2019 Women's Build Family. The Walker family is led by Tikeytia, a single mother to her two children. Kieron, loves football and computers. Maia, her nine year old daughter, enjoys cheer leading, dancing and arts and crafts. The Walkers love spending time together and making each other laugh.

Tikeytia explains that her family’s living conditions have always been difficult. “I have been back and forth with family members. I have always tried to do the best I can as a single parent but the cost of living has been the most challenging because every time I take a step up to do better for myself and my children, the prices go up.”

When she found out they were accepted into the Habitat program, Tikeytia said that she was in a state of shock.

“This is something I have dreamed about since I was 23 years old. It still is surreal, I am thankful to be given the opportunity to prove that I deserve this.” 

“My kids and I have never had stability. It hurts me every day to see them not have a room of their own to be comfortable in. I used to imagine my kids running home from school coming into a house asking mom what did you cook for dinner? This means so much to us because we will have peace."

This Mother’s Day, honor a strong woman in your life with a donation to the Women’s Build. Your gift will help to support Tikeytia Walker and her children’s journey to homeownership. With each donation, we will honor the woman of your choice by displaying their name on a special heart themed card in our Pinellas ReStore for the month of May.

Click here to make your donation online.