Nelson and Maritza Montanez felt truly blessed when they found out they were accepted into the Habitat Pinellas program. 

“Habitat has given us the opportunity to build an affordable home that our family can call home.” The parents of four children, Nelson and Maritza pride themselves on having a happy and healthy Christian family that loves spending time together and helping out those in need.

Ranging from 11 to five, their kids all enjoy playing music, fishing and swimming. For the past three years, the family of six was living with Maritza’s mother. “In these past three years, we have experienced the frustration with the kids not being able to have their space, or their own place to where they feel stable and secure. We all share one bathroom, which is very difficult when you have a big family.”

The Montanez’s have enjoyed completing their sweat equity hours on build sites, at the ReStore yard sale and especially when they were able to donate their time with Feeding Tampa Bay.

“With all the limitations of not having a stable place for the kids to call home and having lots of difficult situations, we have always believed and have learned this: How to become close like a family, how to be able to see things in a positive way, knowing that what we are going through today is just a storm but tomorrow the calm will come and it will be full of blessings.”

Home Sponsor:

Heather Cameron, a family support specialist, felt blessed to be accepted into the Habitat Pinellas program. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to provide a true home to my children”.

Heather is a single mother to two teenage girls, Rylie and Sydney. Her girls are artistic, smart and funny; they are the reason she has continued to move her life forward for the better.

Their current living situation involves an unresponsive landlord, ongoing electrical panel issues for over two years, a leaking roof, and a dangerous neighborhood which keeps the girls from playing outside or having friends spend the night.

After being accepted into the program, Heather was surprised by her experience completing her sweat equity hours. “It has surprised me how many people volunteer out of the kindness of their hearts. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. Volunteers are truly happy for me that I am a homeowner candidate. It’s a joy to see so many people want to see me succeed.”

Heather and her girls look forward to making memories in their new home. “I’m building because I want to give my kids a proper home. Our home will be our sanctuary and a place to call our own.”

Home Sponsor:

James and Ciara Walker are the proud parents of two children, Ariana and Andrew. James and Ciara are ESE (Exceptional Student Education) Associates at local schools. Ciara describes her kids as excellent students who both love to play soccer.

The family of four currently live in a substandard three bedroom apartment with several ongoing issues. Ciara explains that since moving in, they have dealt with problems including faulty plumbing and mold infestation. 

When Ciara learned they had been accepted into the Habitat Pinellas program, she remembers feeling “so happy, blessed, thankful, and excited to be accepted into this program. It was such great news. It’s the missing piece to our puzzle that we’ve been praying for”.

“When I think about my life and future and how different it’ll be in a Habitat home, I imagine a happy healthy life for my family and myself. I know things will be different and it’ll be our home. Life in a Habitat home will be such a blessing to my family and myself.”

This home is sponsored in honor of Nall Lumber Co.

Mariam is a hardworking single mother to her five year old daughter, Amarah. Mariam works two jobs and is currently in school to finish her Bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies. The family of two enjoys being outdoors, having beach days and going to the park. Amarah enjoys playing tennis, practicing ballet, and reading.

A few years ago, Mariam and her daughter moved in with a family member to avoid paying high rent expenses and save to purchase a home.

“When I was accepted into the program, I was in complete disbelief because I always had it in my mind that homeownership would be almost impossible.” 

Mariam likes completing her sweat equity hours because she understands the impact that it makes on other homeowner candidates. “I enjoy doing my sweat equity hours because not only can I help another candidate build their home, but I can also learn how a house is built.”

Mariam and her daughter are looking forward to having their own space and a home to call their own.

This home is sponsored by:

Amiya Flournoy, a hardworking and independent single woman, has been struggling to find an affordable apartment to rent and is looking forward to owning her own home.

She had a bad living situation where her roommate got them both kicked out of their apartment. Amiya only had seven days to find a new apartment and ended up having to use all of her savings to move. Her current apartment is expensive and she has had issues with maintenance.

“I look forward to owning my own Habitat home so I don’t have to worry about renting anymore.”

Amiya is very close with her family, “When it comes to family, I am dedicated and willing to do almost anything.” She is excited to have her own space where she can decorate to her own taste and host her family for dinners and holiday gatherings.

When Amiya first found out she was accepted into the Habitat homeowner program her first thoughts were, “I would finally be able to own my own home! I’m very nervous but excited at the same time.”

Sharon Roundtree is a single mother to her five children. She has worked in the medical field as a CNA and home health aide for the past 16 years. Her kids love acting, drawing, dancing, and spending time together.

Sharon explains that their current living situation is far from ideal for a family of six. Their apartment is quickly become outgrown and the entire family is excited to move into their forever home.

When she found out that they were accepted into the Habitat Pinellas program, Sharon said she was so excited that it brought tears to her eyes. “This means so much to me, especially for my kids future”.

Sharon imagines a bright future for her and her children in their new home. “It will be different because I will have a home of my own that my kids can grow up in.” She is excited for her kids to have a backyard of their own to grow and play in.

This home is sponsored by:

Anne and Genovevo live in a small two bedroom, two bathroom home with their two children, Roxanne and Nathan, and another housemate. The family of four love to embrace their Cuban heritage by speaking Spanish in their home, enjoying family recipes and drinking Cuban coffee. They value family time with their kid’s grandmother and try to visit Cuba often.

The family’s current living situation is not ideal. Roxanne and Nathan are currently sharing a room, which is becoming more challenging due to their ages especially with Roxanne entering her teenage years.

“That’s why the Habitat program is a blessing for us, the last opportunity to have our own home, where my kids can grow up and my husband can age with no concerns about stability and with a decent roof over us.”

While it has been difficult to earn sweat equity hours with work, school and family, Anne knows it’s an important part of the process. “Learning some construction skills, learning how your home is made is definitely something very valuable and will save us a lot of money in the future.”

“Being able to have our own home, being able to pay for it without sacrificing the things we value most, it’s going to make a great difference. It will contribute to our family strength, to our faith in God’s promises and in the love of other people, and in their lives as well. This goes beyond the roof and the walls, it is an exercise of love, gratitude and perseverance.”

Liz Smoley is a single mother of two young boys; Isaiah and Angelo. Liz is an accredited VPK professional and is working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Education at SPC. Isaiah, 5, loves reptiles and can’t wait to have a pet lizard when he moves into his new home. Angelo, 3, is a “bruiser”; he loves playing in the dirt and running. 

Liz raises her children in the Christian faith, and strives to provide them with the best possible life. “I am determined to provide the best learning, living and life possible for my family with Jesus guiding my every step. I try my best to make loving memories with my children and instill a strong foundation for life.”

After leaving an unsafe environment, Liz and her boys have been forced to move frequently from shelters, to family homes, then to the RCS Grace House and finally to Shepherd’s Village, their last stop before they move into their Habitat home.

“I remember getting the call I was accepted into the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership program. It was a feeling of relief and such joy - I wanted to cry.”

 

Home Sponsor:

Yashica is a single mother of two daughters who works as a WIC Outreach Coordinator and Senior Clerk for the Florida Department of Health.

The Owens are a very close knit family. Yashica said, “My girls are my world and I am their role model. I am building because I want stability and our own home.”

Amaiya is smart and funny and Destiny loves everything pink. “Both girls like to sing and dance around the house. They are awesome and I am blessed to have them as my kids.”

Making time to complete her sweat equity hours was a challenge for Yashica who is also going to school full time in addition to her full time job. “It gets overwhelming sometimes, but in the end I know it will pay off because we will have our own home.” The Owens family is looking forward to the stability that homeownership offers, “I am relieved that we won’t have to move anymore. Also, I will have a permanent home that I can pass down to my daughters.”

The girls have always wanted to grow a garden and are excited they will finally be able to do so at their new home. Plus, Destiny can’t wait to paint her room pink.

When talking about the Habitat program Yashica said, “You have to be committed, willing and dedicated to doing the work. It’s not a piece of cake, but in the end it will be worth it. You have to work for your dreams.”

Martha Guzman and her husband, Carlos Bello Ramirez, live with their two kids in a small two bedroom home. They are a tight-knit family who are very supportive of each other and follow God’s word. “When we arrived in this country we came here just with our suitcases and full of hope to make a better future but always with our faith in God” said Guzman.

Guzman imagines a different life once they move into their Habitat home. “I will feel more confident, I will give stability to my family, sense of belonging and it is a good demonstration for the kids that always with faith and effort we can achieve great things for our lives.” Guzman found earning sweat equity hours to be a great experience. The positive attitudes of fellow homeowner candidates was contagious. “It was amazing to see all the people seeing a good future ahead.” Guzman looks forward to a better future for her and her family.

“My house will be a place of peace and tranquility for me and my family.” Just as she learned about the Habitat program from a coworker, Guzman talks about Habitat with friends and coworkers. “It was really amazing when Habitat notified us that we were accepted in the program. We cannot wait for the day when we will get the key to our own house.”