Klopf: Bay Habitat is building a community by building its 100th home

I bet if I asked most people “What does Habitat for Humanity do?” they would say, “build houses.” Yet Habitat does more than build homes. We build affordable homes for families who might not otherwise be homeowners. It’s more than that though. Habitat helps build stronger families, and stronger families build stronger communities.

Bay County Habitat for Humanity recently closed its 98th home. It was a home for a single mother who never told her children what she was working towards. She knew she wanted to provide a stable home for her children. A home where they could create memories, set goals for their own future, and have a better chance of success. A home where her children could go to the same school every year instead of moving from one rental property to another and from school to new school every year.

Price up:Housing prices in Bay County have soared as much as 30% in two years. How high could they go in 2022?

Helping:Bay real estate group teams up with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a local woman

Habitat is currently building homes 99 through 101. Soon, these too will be home to families who can start family traditions like backyard picnics, vacations, birthdays, and family photos next to the oak tree that grows each year. Some of those simple things that many are blessed with that are not a reality for far too many families.

Individuals and families who partner with Habitat don’t just get a new home. They receive tools and acquire new skills through mandatory courses such as financial advice. They are required to provide 500 hours of “working capacity” and most of these hours are spent building their home. Our partner families have the opportunity to build relationships with community volunteers who help on the job sites. This helps them gain a strong sense of belonging to the community. They also have a mortgage payment, but it’s affordable! They never pay more than 30% of their income with 0% interest. Plus, they’re happy to pay their mortgage knowing it’s being used to build more affordable homes.

While the foundation of a good home begins with love, we all need and deserve a safe, secure, and stable home life. Affordable housing offers this in addition to a greater sense of belonging. It’s hard to feel part of a community when you have to move regularly and don’t feel safe. You can’t really plant your roots anywhere and grow, like you can with the foundations of a house.

Partner families celebrate while helping build a Habitat for Humanity home recently.

No one needs to look far to see how much rental rates have increased. By some estimates, individuals and families pay up to 60% to 80% of their income in rent. Add in other day-to-day expenses like food, clothing, gas, and healthcare, and it’s easy to see how greatly some families benefit from Habitat for Humanity’s work.

To accomplish its mission, Habitat relies heavily on volunteers. This includes help at construction sites, our Board of Directors, help at ReStores, and several volunteer committees. Committees work to guide construction projects, the process of selecting families, managing restorations (two), and obtaining land on which to build homes. Volunteers are at the heart of Habitat for Humanity and without them, our work would not be possible.

Over the years, Habitat homes have also been sponsored by many local businesses. More recently, this has included the Central Panhandle Association of Realtors, Panama City Toyota, Panhandle Credit Union, St. Joe Hospitality, Bill Cramer Chevrolet, Wells Fargo, and Publix! Often, these companies also spend time volunteering at the homes they sponsor. Sometimes, instead of sponsorship, it’s the companies that donate materials for our homes or our ReStores that help us tremendously. Companies like Lowe’s, Mid-South Lumber Co., Trane, Wyndham, PetSmart, Hank’s Furniture, Panama City Beach and Panama City Walmart, Panama City Police Department, System Service & Engineering, and others regularly supply us with products and materials to support our work. Some are used for our construction sites and others are sold in our ReStores.

Titles you may have missed

Help reduce the cost of building affordable homes, and a substantial portion of the funds raised by Habitat is generated through our two ReStores. It’s another way Habitat for Humanity serves our community, providing affordable merchandise to those in need. Although everyone loves it, many buy our ReStores to find treasures and do DIY projects. ReStores offer quality items that come to us as donations primarily from individuals, but we also receive some items from businesses, construction suppliers and contractors.

The ReStore at 1636 Beck Ave. sells a variety of household items, as well as clothing and furniture. This location was purchased and remodeled after Hurricane Michael destroyed the 15th Street location. The compound was recently painted in Habitat’s signature blue and green colors by a group of young church volunteers from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The ReStore at 1515 E. 11th St. has four buildings. This location sells more building materials, but also offers slightly used furniture and appliances. Household items from the kitchen sink to bathroom towel racks can be found here.

Habitat for Humanity of Bay County began in 1990. Habitat quickly became a recognized community asset and has been for over 30 years. Today, our agency continues to play a vital role in safe, secure and affordable housing. Surpassing our 100th home by the end of this year is a milestone that was only made possible with the support of the entire Bay County community through volunteerism, monetary donations, in-kind materials and services, shopping at our ReStores and sharing talent. . The list of supporters is too long to write down, but you know who you are! It’s this whole community that allows Habitat to bring people together to build homes, community and hope. We look forward to building 100 more homes for families who never thought the American Dream was possible for them. We also look forward to the continued support and new friends we make along the way!

Angela Klopf is the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Bay County. She resides in Lynn Haven and is also active in the Rotary Club of Lynn Haven and the Panhandle Runners & Triathletes Club.

Comments are closed.