As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic brings everyday life to a screeching halt, construction on Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties’ newest neighborhood, Heritage Heights moves forward. By implementing CDC recommendations and practicing social distancing, our construction team has managed to keep the Heritage Heights neighborhood development on schedule.
“For Habitat families, we are their most essential workforce service, and any delays to development will impact their access to a safe, decent, and affordable home,” said Habitat’s President, Rick Mercer.
Earlier in the week, a seemingly innocuous pile of dirt was moved to build a structural base for the concrete foundation of the first Habitat for Humanity home in Heritage Heights. “As an old land development guy, I’ve seen many of these (dirt piles) over the years, but this one is kind of special,” Mercer said. “This lot will ultimately represent the results of a lot of good people’s hard work, financial support, and the realization of a pretty cool vision of how much we could accomplish as an organization if we were bold enough to push ourselves into some fairly uncomfortable territory,” he continued.
By partnering with local families, Habitat for Humanity will build 150 high-quality, affordable homes in the Heritage Heights neighborhood. In addition to making homeownership attainable, the neighborhood has been strategically designed using Habitat’s Quality of Life in Neighborhoods framework. By tailoring this internationally recognized framework to fit our community’s unique housing needs—Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties will ensure our homebuyers are well-positioned to build a better life that includes personal and economic stability.
Recently, the first Heritage Heights partner family was accepted into Habitat’s affordable homeownership program. Riccardo and Roberta, and their seven children received the news earlier this month. “When we learned the news, we were so happy because owning a home is a dream to us,” said Roberta. “We can’t wait to be in a community of families where everyone takes care of each other,” she continued.
For years, the family has struggled to find an affordable rental home that could accommodate their needs. “We would like to offer our children more, we came to this country to give them opportunities, a future, a dream, but it’s really hard if more than 50 percent of our income goes away just for rent,” said Riccardo.
Owning an affordable home in Heritage Heights, Riccardo and Roberta will be empowered to provide their children with opportunities. With an affordable monthly mortgage capped at 30 percent of household income, the family will build wealth through home equity—providing transformative change and a lasting hand-up the economic ladder.
When asked about her children, Roberta said, “They are so excited to make friends in the community. They can play and grow together and feel safe.” Additionally, the neighborhood assets and proximity to quality schools and medical centers will create a healthy living environment, enabling the children to thrive.
Help families like, Riccardo and Roberta’s, achieve stability through homeownership by donating securely at habitat4humanity.org/donate.