On Wednesday, October 30, 2019 Habitat for Humanity held a groundbreaking at its building site off California Street in Brooksville. Officiating at the ceremony were Richard Sanvenero, Sr., Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Hernando County, and Assistant Executive Director Cindy Murphy. Habitat board members and volunteers, along with various local dignitaries were also at the groundbreaking. These included Gus Guadagnino, school board member; Christa Pearson, representing Congressman Daniel Webster; Heidi Coykendall with State Representative Blaise Ingoglia’s office; Donnie Singer, representing Hernando County government; and two of the families that will be moving into the new homes.
Habitat for Humanity got started in Hernando County in 1996. Since that time the organization has built thirty-one houses. These homes are provided to the “working poor” who go through a vetting process to qualify. The new homeowners receive a no-interest mortgage and are required to pay one year of insurance upfront. The “sweat equity” they put into helping with the construction serves as their down payment.
Sanvenero commented, “On the average, in the past, it used to take eight to nine months to complete a house. We’re going to significantly reduce that time. The last house was finished in six months.”
Habitat plans to complete six houses by the end of 2020. They will be able to accomplish this by using an “assembly line” method. All the houses have either three or four bedrooms.
Rick Kenyon, owner of Build Florida, Inc. who is Construction Director explained the process.
“All the slabs will be poured at the same time, then all the framing, electrical, plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), etc.”
Subcontractors’ labor is provided at discounted rates. Volunteers, as well as the prospective homeowners provide the rest of the labor.
In addition to monetary donations and the value of the labor represented by the many hours that volunteers put into the home construction, Habitat operates a thrift store to help finance its operations. The organization also receives funds from various businesses and corporations. Whole house sponsors are Publix Supermarkets and Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative. Another example of the business community’s participation was the complimentary coffee and bagels that Michael Peranio, owner of Bagels and Beyond provided at the event.
Jerry Campbell, owner of several Dominos Pizzas, presented Habitat with a $1,200 check at the groundbreaking ceremony. This donation is part of their community initiative – Pizza with Purpose, the Power of Positive Pizza. Dominos also provides food to the workers on the building sites.
Within the next six months, if everything goes according to plan, two excited and proud families will be moving into homes of their own. Patrick and Christa Cabrera, along with their eleven year-old son, Justin; and Misty White with her two daughters, twelve year-old Ariana and seven year-old Arabella will be on their way to having a brighter future and breaking the cycle of poverty that so many people find themselves in.
Habitat’s two local thrift stores called ReStores are located at 7421 Spring Hill Drive in Spring Hill and 19450 Cortez Blvd. in Brooksville. Anyone wanting to donate large items can request free pickup by calling 352-556-4863. For hours of operation go to www.habitathernando.org.
Habitat’s business office is at 10494 Spring Hill Drive. For more information call 352-754-1159 or go to the website.