PORT CHARLOTTE Fla.- Habitat For Humanity directors helped the Cruz family dedicate their new home this morning on Warne St. in Port Charlotte. But their home is unique because it was built through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program by a local contractor. Charlotte County bought the property in foreclosure, tore down the old house and gave habitat the money to hire contractors to build a new home, all paid for with a $4 million federal grant.
The catch here is contractors.
Usually, Habitat homes are built largely by volunteers and the homeowner themselves are required to put in a certain amount of labor into their own home, but that was not the case here. Charlotte county Habitat For Humanity Director Mike Mansfield told WINK News that part of the reason for that was the choice of building materials.
“We take those designs and make them out of cement block instead of stick construction,” said Mansfield.
The other reason is because the county required that Habitat hire contractors to do the work so that the program would create local jobs. It was Housing and Community Initiatives Manager Bob Hebert's idea to use Habitat to distribute the funds into the community.
“It was much more streamlined much more efficient than if we went through the County for proposals so were kind of blazing a new trail here,” said Hebert.
But all of this created kind of a new problem for Habitat because they require new homeowners put in a certain amount of sweat equity into their home as it is being built, which the Cruz family could not do because that work went to contractors. Instead the Cruz family worked in the Habitat Resale Shop and helped other habitat families with their homes.
By removing blight, creating jobs and new homes as well as finding homes for families who need it, everyone involved with today's dedication called it a win win win situation.