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.”

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.”

Fayon Small is a Nursing Assistant at an assisted living community. She has been living in a two bedroom, one bathroom house with her mother and four children.

Unfortunately, Small and her four kids have been sharing a bedroom. Her kids all have their own personalities and interests, so Small looks forward to her kids having their own spaces.

Small said her living situation has been very tight and cramped. “I have to get up early to get everyone in and out of the bathroom in time enough for work and school.”

Small has enjoyed her time completing her sweat equity hours and said she has learned many technical skills and also likes getting to know the other homeowner candidates. “I have learned that everyone has a story and everyone has their own unique style.”

Small is happy she and her family will have a safe and stable home and won’t have to continue moving from home to home.

“Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization and a godsend to me and my family.” Small wants to change her family’s future. “I am building because I want a place to call my own and for my kids to have their own space.”

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.”

Clemente and Maria are the proud parents of Mayra and Carlos. Clemente’s mother, Domitila, also lives with the family.

“Grandma Domitila is full of love and knowledge, she is 82 years old so she’s the one to go to for advice. We also have a dog named Luna, she keeps all of us happy and active, she’s really energetic and she’s part of our family.”

The Flores family has been renting most of their lives, “At the moment, we are living in a two bedroom house. The space we have for our family just isn’t enough.” When the Flores family found out they were accepted into the Habitat program they were really excited and thought, “We are finally going to own a home!”

When asked about their sweat equity experience Clemente said, “I love working on the sites. My family has also enjoyed it. It’s something that we have been doing together and I think it pushes us to be great and definitely a fun quality family time.” He added, “Habitat for Humanity is hope! They will not give up on you and will help you every step of the way--optimism is the faith that leads to achievement! Nothing can be done without hope.”

“We’re going to be able to call our home ours! It’s so different owning something and knowing you worked so hard for it.”

Join us for their home dedication on Wednesday, December 19th at 9:00 AM at 1128 Auburn Street Clearwater, FL.

Tiffany and Michael are the proud parents of their son, Maddox. Tiffany has worked as a Retail Sales Merchandiser for four years, and Michael has been in the restaurant industry for over a year. Maddox loves cars but is particularly interested in dinosaurs at the moment. As a family, they love being outgoing and adventurous while making memories together.

In 2016, Tiffany and Michael became concerned that Maddox was experiencing medical issues, one after another. An extensive amount of medical testing later, Maddox was diagnosed with Autism, a speech delay and a skin condition. Maddox’s
determined parents continued to work full-time to ensure that their son’s medical needs were taken care of through doctor’s appointments and 41 hours of therapy per week.

Their current living situation is not ideal; Tiffany, Michael and Maddox are currently living with Tiffany’s brother and father in an overcrowded 1080 square foot single-family home.

Upon being accepted into the Habitat Pinellas program, the couple remembers being excited and ready to start their journey to make a place to call their own. They are looking forward to completing sweat equity hours and to learn how to maintain their forever home.

“We will be able to make memories at our home. We can’t wait to make it our own, and give our family a safe, stable place to live.”

Eirosius and her two young children have been living at her mother’s house. In the crowded home Eirosius shares not only a bedroom but a bed with both her children.

Eirosius is a Certified Nursing Assistant who would like to go back to school to earn her nursing degree. “Living in an affordable home we will have stability and this will reassure me while I go back to school to further my career in nursing and my children will have a home to grow up in.”

When Eirosius found out she was accepted into the Habitat program she was ecstatic! “ My goal is to provide the best life possible for myself and my children. Having this home build is a huge step in that direction.”

“I can’t wait to surprise my children with their own rooms.” Eirosius described Alyana as sweet, artistic and well mannered, and said Zymeer is, “your definition of a little boy, he’s fearless, adventurous and full of energy.”

Homeowner candidates complete a minimum of 350 sweat equity hours throughout their time in the program. “What I’ve enjoyed the most during my sweat equity hours is meeting a lot of welcoming staff and working hands-on with other homeowner candidate who can relate to my situation.”

“Initially I was overwhelmed with all the information that was being given, but what I thought was going to be a scary experience getting out there volunteering turned out to be positive.”

Eirosius is excited to decorate her house, truly making it a home. “I want to give my children a comfortable home to grow up in filled with love and happiness.”

Zadar says she spent six fruitless years on the waiting list for Section 8, the government-funded housing program, before applying to Habitat. She didn’t hear from the organization for another two years. “The day that I got the call, I was so ecstatic,” she remembers. “I felt like I won the lottery.”

Meanwhile, things at home just kept deteriorating. “The roaches are a huge issue at the moment,” she explains. “They are all over the place. You can’t set a bag or anything down, because they’re everywhere. When we move into our Habitat home, I’m not going to be able to bring anything with me.” Management, she says, came in and “over-sprayed,” which left one of the twins hacking and coughing with asthmatic fits.

Last year, the breaker box in the downstairs hallway exploded with no warning. “I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, and the next thing you know the door flies open – pop! – and smoke is pouring out. I get all the kids outside, and soon there are six fire trucks lined up, up and down my street. Everybody’s outside and it’s a big fiasco. We had to spend five days away from the apartment.”

Jade Zadar has completed nearly 300 of the “sweat equity hours,” putting in time at other home sites, required by her Habitat contract. She intends to be actively involved, too, in the construction of her own house.

“This,” she says, “is the moment I’ve probably been waiting for my entire life. Because as a child, I grew up with not a lot of stability. We moved from apartment to apartment to apartment. It was very anxiety-ridden for me. I had a lot of stress.

“I’m trying to pave the way for the rest of my kids’ lives, and their kids’ lives. So it feels like a major accomplishment for me, and for them. I do it for my children.”

 

Home sponsored by:

Lafanya Langston said becoming a homeowner is something she’s been working toward for a long time. She views her new home as, “My place of peace and a symbol of an important achievement in life.”

“I want to inspire future generations, in particular all the young teenage moms, to pursue your dreams, never give up, and accomplish the goals that you set for yourself, as I am living proof.”

Lafanya has enjoyed her time in the Habitat program. “You get a chance to give back to the community that you care about. It also brings people together, unites people and builds comraderie and teamwork.”

Lafanya is a Medical Assistant who described the way she feels when paying rent each month, “All I think about is how many other things I can do with that money, and how much I am paying for something that isn’t even mine.”

She is excited to add her touch to the landscaping. “I can work outside in my own yard. I can put how many flowers I want in different colors, shapes and sizes.”

Langston is happy her kids will always have a place to call home. “When my kids asked me when we were going to own our own home, I’d just tell them that one day God will make a way for us.”

When she received her acceptance letter into the Habitat program, Langston said she “dropped down to my knees thanking God for my blessing.”

The Garcia-Herrera family is a loving, close-knit family of four that believes better day are ahead of them. Ana Luz is a single mother to her son Julio and her twin girls, Nallely and Nataly. Her kids are very respectful and help look after each other while their mom is at work. As a family, they attend Catholic church every Sunday. “I teach my kids to pray and stay positive about life’s challenges and to surround ourselves with positive and loving friends and family.”

After overcoming many hardships, Ana Luz remained determined to provide a home for her family. They bounced around to various apartments, but in 2013, she purchased a used trailer. Repair work is much needed, and ongoing; there has been termite issue as well as roof leakage. In anticipation of Hurricane Irma, they fled their trailer for safer shelter. While it remained intact, Ana Luz feared future weather threats and decided to apply to the Habitat Program.

They were thrilled to be accepted into the program, and to begin working towards a better future. “l feel blessed to be a part of such an amazing program. The kids are all so excited to finally be able to look forward to having a safe forever home.”

Although it has been challenging balancing work, being a single parent and completing her sweat equity hours, Ana Luz realizes the sacrifice will be worth it to her family in the long run.

“With a Habitat home, we will feel confident and assured that we are in a safe place. We will know that we can relax and enjoy living together in a forever home.”