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.

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties Expands Staff to Serve More Families

Candi Hagler, Nancy Ridenour and Patty Sutton join Habitat to support the affiliate in roles ranging from Development, Strategy and Homeowner Services.

 

 

Clearwater, FL – Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties President and CEO, Mike Sutton, has announced several new staffing changes to the newly merged affiliate. Just last month, the affiliate announced a merger between the Pinellas and West Pasco affiliates, expanding the organization’s service area immensely to impact more local families.

The affiliate has announced the following organization additions to better serve future and current homeowners:

  • Re-hire - Candi Hagler, Chief Program Officer for Pasco County
  • New Hire – Nancy Ridenour, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer
  • New Hire – Patty Sutton, Vice President of Development for Pasco County

“The addition of Candi, Nancy and Patty to Habitat’s Executive Team will support our organization as we focus on serving more families in our region in the years to come,” says Mike Sutton, President and CEO.  “Their talent and leadership compliment the significant growth of this organization over the last five years”.

Candi Hagler, Chief Program Officer – Pasco County

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties welcomes Candi Hagler back to the organization. She rejoins the affiliate with her 15+ years of Habitat for Humanity experience, including 5 with Habitat Pinellas.

Nancy Ridenour, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer

Nancy Ridenour, CPA, joins the affiliate after 25+ years of leading PDR CPA where her engagement in the nonprofit sector helped advance the efforts of many nonprofits.

Patty Sutton, Vice President of Development - Pasco County

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties welcomes Patty Sutton to the organization. She brings over 17 years of non-profit work to our community and is an internationally certified fundraising executive (CFRE).

 

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and West Pasco Counties

In March 2019, the West Pasco and Pinellas County affiliates merged to form Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties. In total, the affiliate has constructed 556 homes for struggling families in Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, using locally raised funds. Volunteers and the future homeowners construct the homes, which are sold at no profit and financed with a zero-interest loan. Habitat Pinellas homeowner candidates earn 30 to 80 percent of area median income. For Pinellas County, that translates to as little as $27,000 a year for a family of four. Candidates must also demonstrate need for adequate shelter; ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat Pinellas to invest 350 to 450 sweat equity hours. Mortgage monies are used to build even more homes, making each donation to Habitat a perpetual legacy to the community. Habitat believes that home ownership contributes to family stability, leading, in turn, to community stability. Additionally, the affiliate raises funds through their ReStores, home improvement outlets where donated household and building items are sold to the public. For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, contact (727) 536-4755 or visit www.habitatpwp.org.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to thank mom and all the strong women in your life for their support and love.

This Mother’s Day, we invite you to honor a strong woman in your life with a donation to our Women’s Build. The Women’s Build engages women in our community to help construct a home alongside our homeowner, Tikeytia. Tikeytia has dreamed of homeownership her whole life, and can’t wait for her two kids to have rooms of their own.

During the month of May, we encourage you to give a gift in honor of a strong woman in your life to help Habitat moms like Tikeytia leave a legacy of their own through decent and affordable housing.

Your gift will help to support Tikeytia Walker and her two 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.

Make your donation online at http://ow.ly/mliX30omUUT.

*When completing an online donation, be sure to fill in the "in honor of" selection with her name.

Our Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative of the Town and Country Villas neighborhood in New Port Richey, is a project bringing more affordable housing in the West Pasco area to multiple deserving individuals and families.

We are excited to announce that the first home in the neighborhood named the “Harbor House” is drawing near completion on Leisure Lane. This home was built for an Army Veteran named Forest and has been sponsored by the nearby Gulf Harbors Civic Association. Forest is looking forward to seeing his completed house and has spent countless sweat equity hours working to see his dream of homeownership come to fruition. We look forward to planning a dedication of his home. We still need volunteers to assist with this project and the construction of future homes in this neighborhood.

Click here to sign up to volunteer.

John Zoda has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity since 2015. “I was looking for something that would be interesting to do, have an opportunity to meet new people, and as a way to give back to society”.

John served as a naval officer for seven years, and worked for 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He enjoys learning new skills, and as a Habitat volunteer he can do just that! He loves meeting fellow volunteers, Habitat staff members and homeowner candidates.

While he doesn’t have one specify favorite memory from his time at Habitat, he noted, “I often think about my abilities when I first started (probably would have been fired if this was a paid job) and am able to look back and see steady progress to where I feel that I can do most jobs onsite”.

Thank you to John for your service to our country, and for donating your time with Habitat!

  

GFWC North Pinellas Woman’s Club Book Fairy Project started in 2004 and to date over 40,000 books have been donated to children in our community. They give books to schools, teachers, summer camps, waiting rooms and even distribute them in parades. The books that are donated are new and like new. Countryside High School Florida Future Educators have a book drive every year to keep the group supplied with books. The Countryside Design Class made beautiful stuffed owl pillows that all the little girls love to receive.

On June 3, 2017 GFWC gave books at their first Habitat for Humanity Dedication. The homeowner, Daniel Neris, soon after became a Habit Construction Supervisor. In January 2018 their sister GFWC club, the St. Petersburg Junior Woman’s Club joined the ladies of North Pinellas. North Pinellas Woman’s Club members attend the dedications in the north area of Pinellas County and the St. Petersburg Juniors women attend them in South Pinellas County.

Together the two groups have given over 1400 books to 86 families with a total of 205 children from June 2017 to date. These books have a market value well over $10,000 and the younger children also received stuffed animal characters.

The Habitat staff works with the groups to express the children’s interests so they can customize the book donation to each child and make reading more exciting for them. GFWC provide English/Spanish books for our bilingual families and have purchased books in English/Polish and English/Swahili to meet the interests of these diverse families.

Members love attending the Habitat for Humanity dedications and seeing the joy on the children’s faces when they see their books and toys on the kitchen counters.

"GFWC clubs started 75% of the nation’s libraries and have always supported literacy. Giving books to Habitat for Humanity families is very heartwarming to us and we are so glad that we partnered with this wonderful organization."

Today, we are proud to announce the hiring of Nancy Ridenour, CPA, as Habitat’s new Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer and the rehire of Candi Hagler as Habitat’s Chief Program Officer in Pasco County.

Nancy joins us after 25+ years of leading PDR CPA where her engagement in the nonprofit sector helped advance the efforts of many nonprofits. Candi rejoins Habitat, bringing with her 15+ years of Habitat for Humanity experience, including 5 with our affiliate.

"The addition of Nancy & Candi to Habitat’s Executive Team will support our organization as we focus on serving more families in our region in the years to come,” says Mike Sutton, President & CEO. “Their talent and leadership compliment the significant growth of this organization over the last five years”.

Heart of the Home
Breaking bread with family and friends is a cherished tradition that we are celebrate annually at our Blueprint Gala. Focusing on the “dining room,” we have selected a group of 10 renowned interior designers and event decorators, all of whom have donated their time and talent to create our VIP Dining Rooms. Each has brought their creative expertise to the table, showcasing a diverse look in these stunning environments – each telling their own unique story. We’re pleased to welcome back one of the gala’s founding designers – that has generously brought their over-the-top and award-winning vision to life each of our six years, as well as many returning designers and some new designers as well!

Meet the Blueprint Le Livre VIP Dining Room Designers

Ala’ Bella Interiors
New Designer

Ala' Bella Interiors is a full-service interior design firm, serving the greater Tampa area, that is focused on delivering quality and professionalism to all of their clients with a design that is both beautiful and functional. Ala' Bella Interiors takes an unconventional approach to interior design and while aesthetics is an important factor when designing a space, they strive to give clients peace of mind during the all-too-often stressful design process. Their design team can help identify the needs of the client and create a master plan that best fits their taste, lifestyle, and budget. They facilitate, manage, and organize the entire process from design concept to completion while striving to meet their main goal of helping our clients fall in love with their space again. Alabellainteriors.com

Cheers! Events, Inc. 
Returning Designer

Cheers! Events is a full-service destination management, design, event planning and custom décor company and one of the largest in the Bay Area. Since 2003, Cheers! has taken great pride in providing first-class customer service while producing more than 5,000 breathtaking events for their clients from Fortune 500 companies as well as destination/local weddings and many local galas. From the Panhandle to Miami, Cheers! does all the work so the client can sit back and enjoy every minute. Their knowledgeable experts make sure that every detail comes together seamlessly to create a smashing success. Cheersevents.com

Demetrish Nicole Elegant Events
New Designer

Nicole Elegant Events Is a self- titled event planning company owned by Demetrish Nicole who was born in Augusta Ga. but raised in the sunshine state of Florida and became a Team Lead Biologics Assistant for Oneblood Inc. While saving lives full time she dedicated her off days to event planning however she quickly discovered that a fire which had been put out for so long became ignited which resulted in her weekends becoming her weekdays and evenings. The same passion she has for saving lives is the same passion she has for event planning, and in 2015 she decided to make the decision to start Demetrish Nicole Elegant Events. Demetrish believes that elegance is not catching someone’s eyes it’s creating a vision that will captivate someone’s mind. Demetrishnicole.com

Events by Karima
New Designer

Events by Karima was started out of the desire to attend really put together parties and events! The husband and wife team believe that celebrations should be done the right way or why bother at all. As a result, Events by Karima was born in March of 2015 and has been providing event services to clients with budgets and ideas of all kinds; specializing in full service event planning and decor with an emphasis on attention to detail! Today, Events by Karima is a family business of five members and they strive to make a name for ourselves through creativity and client satisfaction.


Extravaganza! Productions, Inc.  
Founding Designer

Tampa-based Extravaganza! Productions, Inc. has proven itself to be a leading, world-class creative resource and production company for more than 25 years. Specializing in major conferences, corporate meetings and special events for top companies and associations worldwide, EPI is a full-service “one-stop shop” for live event production and can provide creative services including AV, lighting, theme decor and event management from one point of contact. EPI is committed to providing quality production services to customers nationwide. Dedicated to elegance and excellence, they have a reputation for being innovative, professional and taking the time to meet their clients' needs every step of the way. Extravaganzaproductions.com


Keysha Jillian Designs
Returning Designer

K. Jillian Designs thrives on creating designs that fit the feel and character of a client’s home or business to unify the look of their décor. The firm specializes in designing rooms that are comfortable, polished, functional and sophisticated; possessing individual personality and style. Clients receive the personal attention they deserve as Keysha and her team brings their vision to life by listening to their needs and providing a turn-key service with minimal stress. Kjilliandesigns.com


MMD Events
Returning Designer

Events is a full service event production company that specializes in distinctive decor design and is renowned for creating events with edge. Though they are primarily known for their expertise in high end weddings, they also specialize in detail oriented corporate events and fundraisers. mmdevents.com

Melissa LaRosa Interiors
New Designer

Melissa LaRosa is a wife, mother, designer and owner of Melissa LaRosa Interiors (previously Dolce Designs). She believes that design isn’t just about creating trendy rooms, it is about warmth, functionality, harmony and creating a place for their clients to share beautiful memories with their loved ones. Melissa wants her clients to be proud of their homes and ready to host wonderful gatherings for family and friends just as she does with her “big Italian family.” Melissa has been in the design/remodeling industry for more than 10 years and has always wanted to do exactly what she is doing now. melissalarosainteriors.com

Signature Shindigs
New Designer

With over 40 years of collective event experience, this design team helps individuals and organizations turn their shindigs into Signature Shindigs! They provide packages and turn them into unforgettable experiences. While new to Tampa Bay, Signature Shindigs has been planning events for large and small organizations since 1994, by creating something creative, fun and memorable for guests around the world. Their concept is simple, choose from one of their simple packages, or they can custom create an experience to best fit their client’s goals and objectives. Signatureshindigs.com

uDream Events
New Designer

Events offers full service event planning and a la carte services to assist with event design, budget management, logistics, vendor selection, staffing and event execution. Their service is designed to build the perfect experience that fits specific needs of each and every client. uDreamEvents.com

Debra Swetay, a single mother of two children, felt a sense of relief when she found out that they had been accepted into the Habitat program. Debra has worked hard to provide for her two girls, Katelin and Melissa, and finally felt hopeful when she got the news.

Their current living situation is unsafe and inefficient for the family of three. The space is small, battered by recent hurricanes and especially inadequate for Debra’s 13 year old, Katelin, who has been diagnosed with autism, sensory processing disorder, anxiety and depression.

“We are virtually homeless, living in a leaky blue FEMA roofed trailer. We have three current leaks in our roof. We have been struggling moving furnishings around to maintain our current living space. Katelin dislikes change due to her conditions.”

As a single mother, Debra has been working to complete her 350 sweat equity hours through build site days and volunteering at Habitat’s annual golf tournament.

“I have had an incredible time getting right down into to mix of things and learning the things which I need to fix a home. I wish I had started volunteering earlier this has been such an incredible experience.”

Debra imagines a better future for her family in the Habitat home. “I imagine being about to offer my children a stable, wholesome environment that they can grow up in”.

Home sponsored by:

The Habitat Home Repair Program is designed to offer 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. 

After Hurricane Irma, Caroline and her family's home was left in disarray. In addition to parts of their home being damaged, their fence was completely destroyed. After a year of being denied by their insurance company, receiving repair quotes out of their financial ability, and receiving a code violation notice, Caroline turned to the Habitat Home Repair Program. With help from Habitat and a grant provided by Senior Citizen Services of Pinellas County, Caroline was able to improve her situation. Her story is below:

"To whom it may concern,

We have lived in our home for over 30 years, but the last 10 of those have been a financial stress, as I became disabled, and we also care for our autistic Grandson. My husband had to quit his job to care for us, and we ended up on food stamps and welfare; it was humiliating. Things around the house fell by the wayside, but we managed until Hurricane Irma hit, damaging parts of the home, and completely destroying our fence, which went un-repaired for a year. We got several quotes for the work, but they were out of reach for us financially, and we didn't have the physical strength to do it ourselves.

Then in October of last year we finally got a code violation notice from the city. You can't imagine the panic that set it when we were given notice to fix it within 14 days or pay a fine. Fortunately I called the city and a very nice lady listened to our situation, and that we had tried to save the money to fix it, but were totally unable. Both our insurance and FEMA had turned us down for the repairs. Our insurance turned us down because we had a super high hurricane deductible, and FEMA denied our claim because the bedrooms and kitchen weren't involved in the roof damage (and neither covers fences.) 'Don't worry she said, we have programs for people in your situation, and if you apply for one, the violation goes on hold.' It was a sigh of relief.

About a week later our code inspector dropped by with a Habitat brochure, and I immediately applied online that day. It said we would hear within 30 days, but not two days later we heard from Lutricia Johnson, saying she thought they could help.

They next month (it was over Thanksgiving) we attended an orientation meeting that was literally 20 minutes long. It contained the application and expectations, and we were told to bring it back by when we were done. I spent the next few days filling it out, and copying tax returns, and we dropped it back to her within a week.

About two days later they sent an inspector to evaluate the scope of work, and he very carefully took notes, and photographs.

In early December I caught pneumonia again, and was in the hospital when my husband got a call from the inspector, saying we had qualified to get the most essential part fixed, and he stopped by the office to sign the agreement. There they agreed on December 26th, and we were sitting down at Christmas and both said that it was funny we hadn't heard anything back confirming the date, and went to sleep on Christmas Day, wondering if that present we both so desperately wanted, was actually coming.

Sure enough, on Boxing Day, at around 7:00 am, we heard a commotion in the back yard, with 6-7 men hard at work tearing out our old fence. They got most of it done the first day, and came back the next day to do finishing touches. As an unexpected treat, they trimmed bushes and got rid of years of weeds. Now our yard looks beautiful, secure, and best of all, within a few days, we got a letter from the code inspector, clearing our code violation.

Honestly, the process was as simple as they could have made it. We mostly communicated via email, but the times we went to the office. It was clean and the staff were welcoming. There was clear communication. We were told we would be welcomed back to do more work on the house if our financial situation changed, and based on our experience, I would definitely do so.

We all know of one other person who completed the Habitat homeownership program, and that's what they are known for...but I think few know that they have an 'Aging in Place' program to help us as we age, staying where we are most comfortable. We are indeed most comfortable with the result of this experience, and applaud all those who helped us. We are forever in their thanks. I would recommend Habitat to anyone in need. They are here to help.

Warmest Regards,

Caroline M."

  

 

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