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On Friday, February 3rd, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties hosted a volunteer build day exclusively for local Pinellas County elected officials. Exhibiting that affordable housing is a nonpartisan issue; twenty three elected officials from across the county are volunteering at Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco 800th home build, located in Lealman.

After completing exterior painting and framing tasks, the group came together for an affordable housing discussion. The conversation covered many of today’s hot topics regarding the housing crisis we are facing, including the multitude of diverse interventions, policy solutions and funding approaches to the affordable housing continuum.

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Pinellas Board of County Commissioner Charlie Justice works alongside colleagues to support Brianna Clayton, the future homeowners, in her journey to affordable homeownership. 

“We have a housing crisis here in Pinellas County,” said Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers. “To have this chance to work with different cities, and the county, along with Habitat, we can help people realize that American Dream of homeownership. And the great thing about Habitat is the people in program are ready to work for their dreams.”

Over the last 12 months, Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco completed more new homes than any other affiliate in the country – earning a ranking of #1 producing affiliate in the network. This March, the affiliate will celebrate its 800th Home Milestone. On Friday, elected officials met the homeowner, Brianna Clayton and support her journey towards affordable homeownership by putting in sweat equity on her home.

“I’m so grateful to all of these elected officials for taking time out of their busy schedules to be here,” said Habitat Homeowner Candidate Brianna Clayton, who will be the 800th Homeowner in affiliate history. “So many of them stopped to talk and learn about me, and my daughter. It was amazing.”

“Thanks to the hard work of our elected officials today, Brianna is one step closer to achieving the American Dream of homeownership! Their partnership allows us to continue serving more families and strongly advocate for affordable homeownership opportunities for all, ” said Mike Sutton, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties.

Elected officials in attendance included:

  • Florida Representative Linda Chaney
  • Florida Representative Lindsay Cross
  • Pinellas Board of County Commissioner Charlie Justice
  • Pinellas Board of County Commissioner Dave Eggers
  • Pinellas Board of County Commissioner Brian Scott
  • Pinellas Board of County Commissioner Chris Latvala
  • Pinellas Board of County Commissioner Janet Long
  • Pinellas School Board Member Lisa Cane
  • Pinellas School Board Member Caprice Edmond
  • Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard
  • Clearwater Council Member Kathleen Beckman
  • Dunedin City Commissioner Jeff Gow
  • Gulfport City Commissioner April Thanos
  • Largo Commissioner Eric Gerard
  • Largo Commissioner Jamie Robinson
  • Largo Commissioner Donna Holk
  • Palm Harbor Fire Commissioner Casey Cane
  • St. Pete Councilmember Ed Montanari
  • St. Pete Councilmember Lisset Hanewicz
  • St. Pete Councilmember Deborah Figgs-Sanders
  • Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub
  • Tarpon Springs Vice Mayor Craig Lunt
  • Tarpon Springs Commissioner Panagiotis Koulias
  • Tarpon Springs Commissioner Mike Eisner

“This is not a one day solution for this one family,” said Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice. “It’s about transferring that generational wealth to the next generation. That’s really helpful not just for one family, but for the long-term health of our community.”

“Many of us up in the Florida Legislature believes every Floridians deserves the opportunity to be health, prosperous and safe,” said State Representative Lindsay Cross. “Habitat for Humanity hits on all of these things – building wealth, having a safe place to live and creating a healthy environment for families.”

Advocacy is a key pillar for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco is making a further commitment and investment advocating for the advancement of affordable homeownership in our community. Through advocacy, Habitat seeks to influence policy and promote affordability among the broader housing continuum. To learn more, visit https://habitatpwp.org/advocate/.

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