Habitat for Humanity dedicated their 301st home in Pinellas County yesterday to the Jacques Family. NTC volunteers were thrilled to see the family receive the keys to their new home and join in the dedication. Volunteers, families, and donors gathered to celebrate the completion of the residence in Clearwater with a traditional Habitat dedication ceremony. The festivities kicked off as the Jacques family was presented their first official piece of mail from Valpak that contained coupons and a check to help get them started with everything they need. The gifts continued with the presentation of the hammer, an energy box from Duke Energy, a bible, a flag and a welcome mat. The presenting of the keys was initially supposed to be done by the general manager of Clearwater Toyota who is a sponsor of this event who happily passed the keys over to a life-long friend of the new homeowner. Morgan Jacques then spoke to the group and thanked everyone and accepted her gifts with tears of joy and explained that she can't wait to pay it forward by helping her new next door neighbor complete her home. Morgan put in her "sweat equity" (250+ hours) for her home all while completing her master's degree and being a single mom.
Habitat volunteers work on the build sites alongside the homeowner candidates to build and renovate decent, affordable housing. Volunteers provide most of the labor, while individual and corporate donors help provide the funding to build Habitat houses. The homeowner candidates invest 250-350 “sweat equity” hours into building their homes and the homes of other Habitat families. They are also required to complete 13 homeowner courses as part of the Habitat program to help ensure they become responsible homeowners. Once the houses are completed and candidates have met the requirements of the Habitat program, the houses are sold to the qualified homeowner candidates at no profit and with no interest charged. Their mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build still more houses.