Habitat for Humanity helps people find a place to live

August 25 — Three families in the Keys have new homes thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys. 

Hannah Edwards, Community Outreach Coordinator with Habitat for Humanity, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about the organization’s current projects. 

Three new families were welcomed into their homes in a home dedication ceremony in Cudjoe Key recently. 

Edwards explained, “When a family purchases their home through Habitat, it’s really a big journey. First they have to go through the appellation process, which can be pretty intense.” 

Financial records are examined, they need to be paying more than 30% of their income for housing or have conditions are not ideal, crowded or unsafe. A steady income is also required so the family has the ability to make reasonable mortgage payments. 

A committee reviews the applications and sets up home visits. 

Edwards said, “Once the family’s been selected, they begin this journey and they go through education classes, classes on budgeting, on credit, managing finances, conflict resolution. And they put in 350 hours of flat equity on their homes and on their neighbor’s homes.” 

The home dedication ceremony often includes other members of the community, including county commissioners and the land authority and major donors and sponsors. 

The families also speak about what the journey meant to them. 

Edwards said, “That is pretty awesome to hear.” 

The most recent ceremony had a Monroe County staff member that acquired a home through Habitat and it was a poignant moment for the commissioners in attendance. 

Edwards said, “That was so nice that they got to be there for that. It was just very touching. It’s really a wonderful thing to see it all come to fruition.” 

Volunteers are a huge part of Habitat for Humanity. In fact, today volunteers are doing home repairs in the Bahama Village. 

Additional volunteer opportunities involve the warehouse on Rockland Key, where Habitat sells gently used furniture, appliances and building materials.

The hours for the warehouse are Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. 

The warehouse is always looking for donations of items that they know they will be able to sell. Space is an issue for the warehouse, so quality donations are essential. 

Committees are also being formed, particularly one to help the warehouse. 

Edwards said, “One thing that committee will do is look for a new spot for us because we really need a bigger spot. Right now we’re in that warehouse in Rockland Key and it’s just pretty small. So we’re looking for a bigger commercial space and to grow the warehouse.” 

Habitat is also looking for a moving trailer to help with pickups for the warehouse. Anyone with information is asked to contact the organization. 

An education committee will also be formed.

Edwards explained, “We want to bring our homeowner education classes to more people in the community. We want to maybe even do some classes for younger people.”

A volunteer committee will be created to help organize the volunteers. 

Anyone in the Keys that has a window or all unit air conditioning unit that needs replaced, Habitat might be able to help. 

If you would like to get involved, call 305-294-9006 or click here: https://www.habitatlowerkeys.org/