A little more than a month after the devastating category four hurricane blew through Southwest Florida, experienced long-time volunteers with Pelican Landing and The Colony in Bonita Springs gathered just after sunrise to raise the walls of the first Habitat home post-Ian. Pounding nails and sweating alongside them stood the proud future homeowners, Izel and Jorge.
“[We feel] Blessed– thank God,” explained Itzel. “This is a little happiness in the storm that we went through.”
Itzel and Jorge are young parents trying to do their best to build stability for their two-year-old daughter. They both work hard to make ends meet, but what they earn isn’t enough to afford a home. Luckily, Itzel and Jorge both grew up around Habitat Homeowners (Itzel’s parents bought their home through Habitat)— and they knew from experience what they could achieve by partnering with the organization. They also knew that through Habitat, they could build and buy a house in the same neighborhood they grew up in, just a block away from their families.
“The rent here and just owning a home– it’s too much money, especially here in Bonita,” Itzel said. “So, Habitat is a very good financial opportunity for us.”
Itzel and Jorge’s home is being built in Habitat’s Bonita Springs HOA neighborhood of Partnership Place, named after the partnership between the three gated communities in Bonita that came together to make it a reality. One of those communities is Pelican Landing and The Colony— the same community that showed up early on Friday, November 4th to raise Itzel and Jorge’s walls.
“I’m so grateful [for the volunteers],” said a beaming Itzel. “I just want to hug everybody!”
Over the past 20 years, through its partnership with Habitat, Pelican Landing and The Colony residents funded and built 25 homes. Their dedicated volunteers come out to Habitat construction sites multiple times a week to give families the hand-up they need to buy an affordable home. Families like Itzel and Jorge.
“I appreciate everybody, every single one of them,” exclaimed Itzel. “Honestly, it makes the community look 100 times better and I just love it!”
As the group worked together, ate together, and got to know each other, an amazing thing happened: a family’s hopes and dreams started to take shape in the form of a home. Because at Habitat, we know a home is more than just four walls. A home is a foundation of faith, family, friends, and community— all coming together to provide peace, love, and stability for the people it shelters. People like Jorge, Itzel, and their daughter.
Watch and read news coverage of this event:
Habitat For Humanity first home wall-raising since Hurricane Ian
WINK News – Nov. 4, 2022
Habitat For Humanity is still, despite Hurricane Ian, helping families find homes through its affordable homeownership program.
Habitat for Humanity in Lee, Collier receive sizable donations to help with their mission
The News-Press – Nov. 15, 2022
Habitat for Humanity organizations in both Lee and Collier County are moving forward with building affordable homes post-Ian.