Despite the pandemic beginning in 2020, Habitat for Humanity in Pinellas County received $959,888 from property taxes to support the efforts. According to Mike Sutton, Habitat for Humaity Chief Executive Officer, Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, “Its been an interesting year year, and despite the pandemic, our partnerships set a record of 61 homes built this year.”
Sutton said it was not easy to “pull off,” and thanked the Board of County Commissioners, staff and community for the support. He added that to date the organization has provided 663 homes overall with only six going into foreclosure. “This speaks to the success of the program,” he added.
Projects underway in areas that include Danseville, Ridgecrest, “the Beach (know for drugs and prostitution he said),” and also “the Corner” were not generally considered great investments by some. Sutton said that this was particularly true of the Ridgecrest area, where he replied to those questioning, “Bring it on.”
Commissioner Janet (¥¥) noted the destruction of the “no-name storm some years back” that wiped out Ridgecrest. She asked about what she considered a “real, living, moving story about how doing this changes lives and changes opportunities for the little ones who are growing up.”
“I think what’s great about both Danesville and Ridgecrest, which make up the greater Ridgecrest area, is that a majority of the owners are generational with many generations of families and not renters. We’ve been able to compliment history, what’s already there, and at the same time we also got to know the community… making it important that at least 50 percent of the homes were for existing Ridgecrest citizens because we really wanted to stay true to the history and demographics of the community as well.”
In the next year, this Habitat for Humanity is expected to see an increase in budget to $1.2 million from property taxes.