Yesterday marked the 340th home dedication for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County.
A three bedroom, two bathroom house on 3rd Avenue N., in St. Petersburg, will now be home to the Engle family: Mary Anne, a local small-business owner who recently earned her U.S. citizenship, and her two teenage sons.
Habitat has been operating in Pinellas County since 1985. Its homeownership program revolves around building homes with volunteer community members, then selling those homes — for no profit — to households who Habitat believes otherwise could not afford to own a home.
To complete the program, an individual must attend 13 homeowners’ classes, complete at least 250 sweat-equity hours, and have enough saved up for closing costs, which are about $500, and for the first year of home insurance, which runs between $1,000 and $1,500.
“Theodore Roosevelt once said, ‘Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell them, certainly I can, then get busy and find out how to do it,’” commented Mary Anne as she thanked everyone involved in helping her become a Pinellas County homeowner.
Habitat’s homeownership program has turned into such a success due in part to its long-term affordability design. Habitat homes are financed with a zero-interest 25-to-35-year mortgage, which, depending on the value of the land, will cost those living in a 3-bedroom Habitat home — as the Engle family will be doing — between $664 to $720 monthly, which includes taxes and insurance.
The Engle home — like all Habitat homes — is ENERGY STAR certified, meaning that it’s in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for helping businesses and individuals “save money and protect the climate through superior energy efficiency.”
One of the benefits of the Engle home’s ENERGY STAR certifications is a solar water heater.
“It’ll keep your energy bills very low,” said Duke Energy’s Joe Triolo.
A representative of U.S. Rep. David Jolly — Stephani Lavely — was also in attendance to officially recognize the completion of the Engle family home, as well as to present the family with a flag from the nation’s capitol.
“[Congressman Jolly] is a very big supporter of this program,” said Lavely, “as was his predecessor, Congressmen Bill Young.”
Jolly, according to Habitat, has either been at, or sent a representative to, each of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County’s home dedications since taking office.
St. Petersburg City Councilmember Amy Foster was also scheduled to be in attendance, but was a no-show.
In-kind donors to the Engle home include Duke Energy, Schnieder Electric, Dan Powers P.E., Innovation Cabinetry, Whirlpool Corporation, Valpak, Valspar, and Andrea Stark Home.
Sponsors include Blueprint for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County and Chase Bank.
For more information on Habitat’s Pinellas homeownership program, visit habitatpinellas.org.