About 18 months ago, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and Pinellas County Government leaders began discussing seven Pinellas County owned lots in the Ridgecrest community. The County offered to donate these parcels to Habitat Pinellas for the development of affordable housing.

The Greater Ridgecrest community is a historic African-American neighborhood, with the unfortunate stigma of crime, prostitution and drugs. A few years ago, the County made improvements to the roads, sidewalks and amenities in the community, with Ridgecrest Elementary and the YMCA experiencing flourishing programs.

Mike Sutton, CEO of Habitat Pinellas explains, “We gladly accepted the donation of all seven lots and planned a ‘Paint the Block’ initiative where we partnered with 10+ homeowners in the neighborhood for exterior enhancements. We also began work to accumulate additional lots in the neighborhood. At this time, we’ve completed 10 homes at an investment of $1,845,000; have nine under construction with another six vacant and ready for a family; and we are also pursuing additional vacant lots.”

Before starting construction, Habitat Pinellas spent time getting to know the neighborhood and the organizations vital to its residents including Friends of Ridgecrest, YMCA, and Ridgecrest Elementary.

The Habitat Pinellas leadership team has also met with County Commissioners to gain their support for the Ridgecrest redevelopment efforts.

“Congratulations and thanks to Habitat Pinellas! Despite the obstacles and challenges in the Ridgecrest neighborhood, Habitat Pinellas is committed to providing housing opportunities and has accomplished this”, said Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel. “With over $3,500,000 invested by Habitat Pinellas, we are proud of the homes that will be built. Safe and affordable housing - that’s the goal of the Pinellas County Commission. Habitat Pinellas has been the leader in making this happen. We’ll grateful for their leadership.”

On the redevelopment initiative, Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard said, “The County Commission is always pleased to partner with Habitat for Humanity to provide housing opportunities for our hard-working families. The County Commission has shown its strong support of Habitat for Humanity’s mission by providing affordable housing construction loans and with direct action to donate a total of seven lots in the Greater Ridgecrest Area. The new housing and revitalization efforts by Habitat Pinellas are having an important, highly-visible and positive impact in this historic community.”

Looking towards the next six months, Habitat Pinellas has plans to complete the next nine homes. This will result in the total investment to exceed $3,500,000, with another six lots ready to be built on.

MAKING CHARITABLE DONATIONS TO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF PINELLAS FROM YOUR IRA

A very unique way to donate to Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas is through your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), which could reduce your taxable income.

Here’s How It Works:

•  You must be 70 ½ or older at the time of the distribution.

• You may distribute any amount up to $100,000.00 in a calendar year to Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas as long as the donation is completed by December 31 of the year in which you intend to make the charitable distribution.

• The administrator of the IRA (often times the owner of the IRA) must make the distribution directly to Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas.

• The amount of the distribution to Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas will NOT be included in the taxable income of the owner of the IRA in the year of the donation.

Please review your intentions with your accountant, your attorney or your financial planner.

There’s no doubt that today Habitat Pinellas is one of the highest ranked Habitat affiliates in the nation. In fact, we were just ranked number two in the nation based on new home production. Staff and volunteers work tirelessly to keep the mission going, and year after year the number of families we serve increases.


But a great organization starts with a solid foundation. Tom and Lynne Webster were one of the pillars of that foundation. Tom and Lynne sacrificed security for commitment. In the early 1980’s they left secure jobs to attend the six month director training program at Habitat International headquarters, during which they received free housing and a $60 per week stipend.


After completing the program, they committed their lives to full-time ministry work and Tom took the position of Director of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County. They initially lived out of a small house provided by Trinity United Church of Christ, earned no salary and received only a small stipend. Tom worked six days per week on average. At the time, Habitat Pinellas only had $3,000 in the bank. Tom credits his faith in God and said many miracles are what kept him going.


Tom served Habitat Pinellas from 1985 to 1993. His dedication and service resulted in 30 homes built during that time and helped lay a solid foundation for the tremendous growth we see today. We are very grateful for Tom and Lynne’s devotion and perseverance. Their sacrifices, tenacity and resolution paved the way for more than 500 families to receive a home of their own.


Thank you Tom & Lynne!

                       

On Tuesday, December 4th, 2018 representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and St. Jude Great Commission Community Development Corporation (CDC) gathered to break ground in St. Petersburg. Habitat Pinellas will be partnering with St. Jude Great Commission CDC to complete their first home for a low income family.

With similar goals of affordable housing and community empowerment, the partnership was a natural fit. “Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County is committed to increasing affordable housing opportunities within South St. Pete”, said Mike Sutton, CEO of Habitat Pinellas. “We are able to use our resources and 33+ years of experience to increase the capacity of other nonprofit affordable housing providers through collaboration. We are excited to break ground on St. Jude’s first home!”

"We are very happy to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and Hancock Whitney as we all work to bring affordable home ownership opportunities to families in South St. Petersburg”, said Jo Ann Nesbitt, President/CEO of St. Jude Great Commission CDC. “Habitat, Hancock Whitney, and St. Jude have a shared mission to improve the lives of families through home ownership. Affordable housing remains a challenge for many low income families in St. Petersburg, and we believe this partnership will make an enormous difference in overcoming that challenge. We look forward to working together to achieve real impact in the communities we serve!"

From left: Karl Nurse, Habitat Pinellas Board Member; Pastor Ed Nesbitt Jr., St. Jude Great Commission CDC Advisory Board Member; Gaby Camacho, Habitat Pinellas; James Robinson, St. Jude Great Commission CDC Advisory Board Member; Mark Giese, Hancock Whitney; Jo Ann Nesbitt, St. Jude Great Commission CDC; Mike Sutton, Habitat Pinellas; Ken Rush, Habitat Pinellas.


About Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County
Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County has constructed over 500 homes for struggling families in Pinellas County, 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, Habitat Pinellas raises funds through their ReStore, a home improvement outlet where donated household and building items are sold to the public. 

About St. Jude Great Commission Community Development Corporation (CDC)
St. Jude Great Commission Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a Faith-based organization located in St. Petersburg, Florida created in 2016 to promote economic mobility and make neighborhoods great places to live. St. Jude Great Commission CDC partners with others to build affordable housing and create economic opportunities that enable people to do good and live well. They help make neighborhoods viable by strengthening the people who live there. From advancing and preserving home ownership, to opening doors to economic mobility through entrepreneurship, St. Jude Great Commission CDC is creating great opportunities and changing outcomes. For more information, visit www.stjudegreatcommissioncdc.org.

 

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County is honored to be considered for the HEART Awards, in the Collaboration category. Affordable housing is facing a crisis in our community, so we are happy to be collaborating with other like-minded nonprofit organizations to provide affordable housing options to low and moderate income families throughout Pinellas County:

1. We’ve partnered with Sustainable Communities, an organization focused on affordable housing in South St Petersburg. This organization has historically focused on rehabilitation of dilapidated homes, but working with Habitat Pinellas, we completed our first NEW home project in 2018. We are on pace to build 4-5 homes this year in partnership with this organization. This will be in addition to the 60 homes Habitat Pinellas will build this year.

2. We’ve also partnered with St. Jude Great Commission Community Development Corporation, to construct their very first home as they launch their CDC. St. Jude has been providing home buyer education services in the Midtown community of South St Petersburg for many years, but partnering with Habitat, who will serve as their contractor & developer, they will be able to place one of their home buyer education recipients into a new home.

3. By partnering with the Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-entry Program (PERC), Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County has been able to provide onsite training opportunities for PERC’s clients. These ex-offenders are looking to build skills they can translate into the working world. They also will use the skills learned on a Habitat construction site to help construct “Tiny Homes” through PERC’s tiny homes program, which may ultimately lead to them owning one of their own.

As written for Habitat World Magazine

Tithe Testimony from Mike Sutton, CEO of Habitat of Pinellas County
By Mike Sutton


Our organization, Habitat of Pinellas County, finds ways to include the work that we do internationally in the work that we do locally. For example, at each home dedication we take time to acknowledge our home-for-a-home program: for each house we build in St. Petersburg, Florida, we build a house in Guatemala or Malawi. This has helped us from a local standpoint by making it known that Habitat is not just at work throughout Pinellas County and the United States but also throughout the world, as our ministry touches hundreds of thousands of lives each year.


Before joining Habitat of Pinellas County, I worked for an affiliate in Texas for 5 years. We tithed on average $2,000 - $5,000 annually to the global work. We were not really engaged. That affiliate has since become more engaged, but my experience at Habitat of Pinellas County has always been different. One main reason is because there are great champions for the global work within our organization, such as Gabby who is the VP of construction. She has been with our organization for 10 years and has led a number of Global Village trips. Gabby, along with several other staff, helps our organization stay focused not only on our local impact but also on our global impact.


Our organization has made a commitment internally to the tithe program. We budget for our tithe, and at the end of the fiscal year, we finds ways to give extra. This commitment is possible through strong board support. We cultivate this board support through a variety of ways. For example, at least one board meeting each year is dedicated to the international work. In addition, a few years ago, we had Susan Yow, the director of affiliate tithe and global engagement at Habitat International, come talk to our board about the global work. During her visit, we hosted a panel of three individuals in our community who regularly join our global village trips and who talk passionately about our global work. Ironically, these three panelists do not support Habitat of Pinellas County locally and so are only focused on our global engagement. Susan’s visit and this panel helped our board understand that not every single person is going to support us locally, as some people are just more interested in our work abroad. Recently, Kelvin, the national director of Habitat Malawi, also visited our staff and board to talk about the impact of our tithe. These visits build up great excitement around our tithe and global engagement.
Our organization is very fortunate to have a board that trusts our staff to make recommendations around our tithe. Our global work is driven largely by these passionate and dedicated staff. Malawi, in particular, has tugged at our heart strings. We have really rallied behind them in terms of support. For example, we have made a commitment to Habitat Malawi to send a global village team every other year to build with them. The trip to Malawi is a bit expensive though, and so our organization also offers global village trips to Latin America and the Caribbean region, which is more affordable and can attract a different type of supporter. We are looking forward to our next trip to the Dominican Republic in 2019.


Our organization continues to think creatively around how we can do more. We are in the initial planning stages for a fundraising event that Kelvin with Habitat Malawi would help us to host through which we will raise awareness about and funding for future global village trips to Malawi. We would also highlight the need for adequate housing in Malawi and other low-income communities around the world. This type of event is all about listening to the donor, which will allow us to attract new supporters. We are looking forward to this great event next year, among other global initiatives.


Mike Sutton is the chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Click here to learn more about the upcoming Global Village Trip to the Dominican Republic.

Dear Habitat Pinellas Supporter,

The Tampa Bay Times published an article “They trusted Habitat for Humanity. Then it sold their mortgages to a Tampa company that flips houses” on Sunday, August 12th. This article addresses a business decision made by the Habitat for Humanity Hillsborough County Affiliate.

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County cannot comment on business decisions or practices of other Habitat affiliates. Each affiliate is individually incorporated, operating under its own set of governing bylaws.

However, we can address our business model which includes the sale of our mortgages to financial partners. Habitat Pinellas retains all servicing rights of each & every mortgage we write. The terms (years and 0% interest) of the mortgage note never change. We then use those funds to build the next Habitat home; we call this the Fund for Humanity. The home owner must remain current on monthly payments; failure to do so may ultimately lead to foreclosure.

We appreciate your continued support of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and the need for affordable housing in our community.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our CEO, Mike Sutton, at msutton@habitatpinellas.org or (727) 536-4755.

Sincerely,

Matt Frey – Board Chairman, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County
Mike Sutton – CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County

The Mills family has three generations under one roof. Mr. Mills is one of the first homeowners in Historic Midtown, St. Petersburg, Florida. After many years living in their home, the residence required extensive maintenance. His daughter who has lived in the family home all her life took responsibility for the repairs. She wasn’t sure where to begin getting the critical needs of the home met: roof replacement, electrical upgrades, plumbing repairs, HVAC replacement, attic insulation or exterior painting. When Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County introduced the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a home repairs program designed specifically for the Mills neighborhood, Miss Mills immediately agreed to partner with Habitat. Upon Habitat Pinellas' inspection of the home, the findings were that the house was beyond repair. The roof that needed replacement due to the expiration of the life expectancy was sitting on a termite infested frame that was structurally unsound. The electrical panel wasn’t up to code and there were some outlets and switches that were inoperable. The plumbing did not drain properly. The HVAC wasn’t cooling because of air leaks nor was it efficient because of lack of maintenance. There was zero attic insulation. The siding on the house was in desperate need of a new coat of paint. If Habitat would have completed the critical repairs there would still be other issues such as window and door replacement, and subfloor repairs needed. The critical repairs estimated around $25k. With such a large investment needed, Habitat Pinellas introduced the Mills family to the Habitat new homeownership program to which they were accepted. They deeded their property over to Habitat Pinellas at no cost for the duration of the construction process and their family collectively completed the 350 sweat equity hours and 16 homeowner classes required by the program. The Mills will now pay a zero interest mortgage and live in a brand new, energy efficient, hurricane-resistant home. Before After

Pinellas County's Day of Giving - Pinellas County has proclaimed November 29, 2016 #GivingTuesday. #Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners-charities, families, businesses, and individuals-to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the year-November 29, 2016, 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 charities and causes they support. Click here to donate now.

Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County is asking our supporters, donors, volunteers, and families to make a donation in honor of our 400th home.

The dedication of the 400th home marks an important milestone in our Habitat Pinellas history that has helped 400 low income families, including 1044 children, escape the downward path of substandard housing.

So many different people have come together to build each of these 400 homes. And just as important as those people who pick up hammers are the people and organizations that support us financially or provide government cooperation in each of the cities where we build. Their combined efforts have enabled Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County to reach this milestone, while helping families in our community, like the Piantadosi family, obtain the dream of homeownership and the opportunity for a brighter future.

Click here to Donate to the 400th Habitat Pinellas Home Now!

Building Homes. Building Hope. Building Community.

On behalf of the families we serve, thank you!

About the Piantadosi Family
In December, Habitat for Humanity will begin building our 400th home for the Piantadosi family.

Amanda Piantadosi is a single woman with a passion for teaching young children. While she doesn't have a child of her own, she enjoys working as an Assistant Preschool Director and Lead VPK teacher. In addition to her passion for helping children, she has been lovingly sharing her home with her mother, niece, and niece's daughter.

The tight-knit blended family has been sharing a two-bedroom rental. The niece and her daughter share a room while Amanda's mother, Louanne, sleeps on a pull-out couch in the living room. The close quarters have been challenging for the women, and in addition to the space issue, the price of repairs and rising cost of rent has been a tremendous burden to the family.

When Amanda found out she was accepted into Habitat Pinellas's homeowner program, she was in disbelief. "I was very excited and kept thinking 'thank you, Jesus, I can't believe it," Amanda recalled about telling her mother the news. Amanda looks forward to providing stability both physically and financially for her family. They will no longer have to worry about rental increases and moving. Amanda's hardworking and deserving mother will finally have a bedroom of her own, and the women will finally be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of doing laundry at home. "This house will be our sanctuary, the place we can't wait to go home to at the end of the day," says Amanda about the family's future.

Did you know? Whirlpool is a National Partner with Habitat for Humanity! Locally, they have partially sponsored THREE Habitat homes.

During a beautiful Saturday morning dedication, Lexus Ramsey made the key presentation to the overjoyed Kabamba/Kabuya family on behalf of Whirlpool, a contributing sponsor of the home. The family expressed their gratitude to Whirlpool and a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped build their home.

Stephany Lavely presented the family with a flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol on behalf of U.S. Congressman David Jolly's office. Other participants included Tracey Benjamin, a volunteer on the home who presented the Hammer, Susan Sullivan, a Habitat Homeowner Partner who presented the Bible, and Dave Gerald from Anona United Methodist Church who blessed this home. We are grateful for partnerships like these and many others, as we work together to move our mission forward!

About the Whirlpool/Habitat partnership
In more than 16 years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Whirlpool has developed active programs in more than 45 countries with a commitment of more than $90 million. In the United States and Canada, the company has donated more than 168,000 ranges and refrigerators to new Habitat homes, serving more than 85,000 families. Additionally, Whirlpool has donated more than 41,000 products to Habitat ReStore retail outlets, helping raise nearly $5.7 million. The company has engaged thousands of employee volunteers, sponsored nearly 150 homes and donated products to more than 75,000 Habitat families Europe, Middle East and Africa. Whirlpool plans to support the work of Habitat around the world through product donations, financial contribution and/or volunteerism.
http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/social-responsibility/

Save