The holidays are a poignant time for people in a new Habitat home

A number of families are celebrating the holidays in their new homes thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Hannah Edwards, Community Outreach Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about how the organization helps people.

Edwards said, “When they move in, we always ask them which holiday is going to be the first holiday they celebrate or whose birthday is going to be the first birthday they celebrate and it’s always exciting to hear their stories.”

Affordable rentals are also something Habitat for Humanity looks to help.

Edwards said, “We’re a little unusual for a Habitat because we do have rentals. We have affordable rentals. The housing issue in the Keys is just so huge that I think it takes all sorts of solutions. We love it when our tenants in our affordable rentals are able to transition to home ownership.”

A well-known local performer and business owner, Erin McKenna, rented from Habitat and was recently able to purchase a home.

Edwards said, “That’s always just really exciting for us. Hearing Erin’s story just really emphasized for me what it is that makes the Keys special. I feel like it’s special here because of all those interesting, talented people and it’s so sad when people who want to stay here have to move away. I think that’s happening more and more. I’m just so glad Erin was able to stay. It just emphasized to me that we really need more affordable home ownership opportunities so that more people are able to stay and put down roots here. We love the Keys because it’s so fun and quirky and weird and wonderful and that character of the Keys that we know and love is because of the people that live here, the characters that live here. I think if we really want to keep that character, we have to keep people here. Affordable housing is really key to that.”

Fundraising is an important part of Habitat for Humanity and there’s a bingo night coming up on December 26 at the Green Parrot.

Edwards said, “That’s another great thing about this town is that there are so many fun fundraisers. Monday night bingo, anybody that’s never been, it’s really fun at the Green Parrot. It always benefits a different non-profit. It will be us on Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas. Anyone that has family in town, this is a fun activity to bring them to. We’ll have some goodie bags for prizes with all sorts of stuff in them.”

Bingo cards are $1 each.

Edwards said, “It’s a fun way to just get out there for a couple hours and raise a little money for Habitat and have a good time.”

The Habitat Warehouse could be a great place to find a last-minute Christmas gift.

There should be new items arriving all week. It includes gently used furniture, home goods, décor, and building materials. The hours are from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Edwards said, “We also have a bike raffle going on at the Warehouse. You can get tickets or if you want to call us, you can buy a ticket over the phone as well. It’s a Liv Flourish hybrid bike, women’s bike. It’s really cool and versatile. It’s kind of a combo between a beach cruiser and a city bike. Brand new. It seems to be worth between $475 and $600.”

The raffle tickets are $10 or five for $40.

Edwards said, “We’re going to only sell a limited number – 100 tickets.”

The Warehouse is at 111 Overseas Highway, Rockland Key. Donations are also accepted at the Warehouse.

Edwards said, “The one issue we’re having right now is that we are down a vehicle. We need a work truck for our construction manager. He’s been using the van that we normally use to pick up donations, so we’ve been really limited in our donation pick up. So if anybody knows of a work truck that’s in good condition for a good price, let us know.”

Habitat is always looking for volunteers as well.

Edwards said, “We do group volunteer opportunities and we have regular hours at the Warehouse. You don’t have to be the person that lifts furniture. You can also just help us arrange things and check people out and do a little staging. We have opportunities to help on the build site. We have opportunities to help with admin stuff.”

The number for Habitat for Humanity is 305-294-9006 or click here: