The Moncada Family is very grateful to be in the Habitat program, and they are excited to have their own home.

The Moncada’s living situation has been cramped as they have been sharing a duplex with a friend. The three of them have been sharing one bedroom for the past two years.

Getzel is a sweet girl who loves art and is happy she can help her family earn sweat equity hours by earning good grades in school. During the Habitat home visit Getzel brought out her piggy bank to show the committee members that she is saving money too.

The Moncada's are a Christian family that love God and are looking forward to having a peaceful life in their new home. When they found out they had been accepted into the Habitat program they said it felt too good to be true. “Habitat for Humanity is the best program I have ever experienced,” said Mario who encourages anyone who is thinking about volunteering with Habitat to, “please just do it, it’s a great program.” 

Mario added, “Earning sweat equity has been a great learning experience.” 

“We are building because we want to make our dreams come true.”

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.”

In a few shorts weeks the members of Hammers and Heels will dust off their hard hat, strap on a nail apron and start building the 5th Women’s Build for Tikeytia Walker and her children.

This dynamic group of women have been supporting Habitat Pinellas for 6 years through personal philanthropy and many hours of volunteering. In addition, all of the sponsorships on this year’s home come from the members companies and women owned businesses. Some matching corporate grant money comes to Habitat from the group which adds to their financial support. During the year members do fun activities around Pinellas to stay in touch with one another.

We cannot thank the members of Hammers and Heels enough for all they contribute to the Habitat mission and specifically the women’s build. Please join us for a kick-off party on February 12th at 5:30 PM. Come meet the family and join the fun. For more information please contact Pam Ora at PORA@HabitatPinellas.org.

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.”

Over 100 Pinellas County residents will step up to serve as volunteers on the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday for Habitat Pinellas’s Day of Service. Habitat Pinellas volunteers will roll through the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) of South St. Petersburg providing exterior improvements to seven homes as part of the National MLK Day of Service, joining hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country in volunteer service.

In partnership with St. Petersburg College, Habitat Pinellas has received a $5,000 grant to provide paint, supplies and organization of this event. In addition to this MLK Day of Service, homeowners residing in the CRA of South St. Petersburg can look to Habitat Pinellas all year long for affordable home repairs like roof replacement, structural, plumbing, electrical repairs and painting. For more information regarding this program and the qualification process contact Habitat Pinellas at 727-536-4755 ex 401.

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County has planned a day of service that will leverage the strength of local citizens to help tackle local problems and advance Dr. King’s dream of opportunity for all. The annual event honors Dr. King’s legacy and is an opportunity for Americans to renew their own personal vows of civic responsibility through service to others and engage in conversations to advance community goals.

For a donation of $19.64, volunteers will receive an event t-shirt, lunch and an exciting day with others giving back to our community.

Sponsors for the event include AmerLife, Bon Secour, Hertz, Jeff Coffin Painting, Khonsari Law Group, Lewis, Longman & Walker, Morneau Shepell, Sabal Trust, and Westminster Shores.

 

On Tuesday, January 15th, 2019, representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, sponsors and elected officials celebrated the groundbreaking of six homes in the Dansville neighborhood of Largo. This new development will provide six more Pinellas County families the opportunity to live and thrive in their safe and secure homes alongside 14 additional Habitat homes in the neighborhood.

As part of an ongoing effort to bring housing to Pinellas County's working-class neighborhoods, Habitat Pinellas is working with Pinellas County officials and community partners to build the six single family homes in Dansville.

“Habitat Pinellas has enjoyed a long relationship with Pinellas County officials,” said Mike Sutton, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County. “This partnership has allowed our organization to collaborate with sponsors and the community to redevelop the Dansville and Ridgecrest areas of Largo.”

Sponsor support from Bankers Financial, Hooter’s, Kane’s Furniture, MaintenX, MarineMax and Raymond James will provide funding and construction volunteers for the six homes being constructed in the Dansville neighborhood of Largo.

Our Donor Spotlight shines bright on Denise Peske. She became aware of Habitat Pinellas through her career with Cox Lumber Co. and currently Tibbetts Lumber. She started with Cox Lumber in 1996 doing credit collections. She moved to the Cayman Islands with Cox Lumber in 2006 to be their Purchasing Manager.  When Denise returned to Florida in 2014 her new role with Tibbetts was the HR Manager. She is now in outside sales with Tibbetts and working on her business degree at Capella University.

She knew upon her return to Pinellas County that she would volunteer and support Habitat Pinellas. Denise is a founding member of the Habitat women’s group “Hammers and Heels”.  Every year she organizes the ladies group called Team Tibbetts to work on the Women’s Build. Denise says, “It is emotionally powerful and fulfilling to be a part of the group of women who are helping another woman and her family obtain the dream of home ownership. Each year I look forward to seeing the homeowners from previous years and it is incredible how much their lives change for the better because of Habitat.”

In addition to the women’s build she facilitates the Tibbetts sponsorships for Golfing Fore Habitat and Habitat’s Blueprint Gala which she attends every year with her team. She also attends the Community Builders Breakfast and invites guests to join her to learn more about Habitat.  Denise has a busy life with her volunteer work with ALPHA House, a full time sales position and college but she makes time to support Habitat in many ways. Habitat Pinellas is grateful to have donors like Denise Peske supporting the Habitat mission.

Mark Moore became a parent to his five nieces and nephews at the age of 20. “Gaining custody of my kids turned me into a man quickly. I could no longer think of just myself, I had others I had to think about and kids who looked up to me.”

Mark dropped out of college to take care of his children and supports his family as a bus driver for the Pinellas County School District. “I quickly found out what the saying ‘kids are expensive’ meant.”

All of the children have their own personalities and interests, and they are looking forward to having a space to call their own. Rah’Nasia enjoys cheer and dance, Rihanna is interested in computer technology, and the boys all love football.

The Moore family has moved many times over the past few years because they are a big family and even small apartments are too expensive. “We have to have multiple beds in one room, it’s not comfortable at all.”

When Mark found out he was accepted into the Habitat Pinellas program he was very excited. “I was speechless! When I did the application I never thought I would’ve been accepted into the program.”

Moore has enjoyed his time earning sweat equity, “I like going to the build sites, you get to do a lot of hands on work and learn a lot of things. This program has opened doors for me to meet some amazing people.”

“I am building because my family deserves this, we have been through so much together. I’m ready for this new journey!”

 

The Moore Family is our 2019 Men's Build family. Each year, from fundraising through construction, this group helps make the dream of homeownership come true for a Pinellas County single father. Click here to learn more.

Shana Goss is a single mother to two young boys, Damarkus and Julius. Damarkus loves playing basketball, going skating and riding his bike. Julius loves to draw, play with Legos and cook. Shana, a childcare assistant director enjoys spending time with her family.

Their current living situation is not ideal for the family of three. The two bedroom apartment is cramped with only one small storage closet. The boys share a room that doubles as a storage space for their bikes and skateboards. Boxes and bins are stored behind dressers and under beds due to the lack of space.

Shana had always dreamed of living in a high rise condo, but having her two boys changed her mind. She wanted a safe, affordable space for them to grow up in. When she received her acceptance into the Habitat Program, Shana felt a deep gratitude. She is ready to start a new chapter for her and her family.

“I am building because my family needs a home. Our future is now a lot brighter knowing that we will have a place to call home, a home that I will someday leave to my children.”