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On Friday, October 23rd, 2020, three families will celebrate the completion of the Habitat for Humanity homeownership program by receiving their keys to new homes in Town & Country Villas. The Bishop, Wise and Kopp families partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties to build their homes, which they will purchase with zero percent interest mortgages.

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties currently has 11 homes under construction throughout Pasco County. The Town & Country Villas neighborhood is comprised of 110 lots on Leisure Lane and Van Doren Avenue. Property values range from $2,500 to $65,000 with many of the home sites previously occupied by homeless individuals. This two block area had previously been known as one of the busiest for illegal activity in Pasco County. After the triple dedication on Friday, Habitat will have built 8 new homes within Town & Country Villas.

Habitat homeownership partner families must demonstrate a need for adequate shelter, the ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat to invest 350 to 450 “sweat equity” hours. These soon-to-be homeowners also completed 20 homeowner education classes, from budgeting to how to be a good neighbor, to prepare for their new chapter as homeowners.

Typically, the community is invited to join the new homeowner at their home dedication in person. Due to the pandemic, Habitat invites supporters to tune in virtually via the dedication Facebook Live stream at https://www.facebook.com/HabitatPinellasPasco/.

Soon-to-be homeowner Jessica Bishop is a regulatory specialist, receptionist, and back-up phlebotomist, while also taking care of her two children, Jazzmin and Jaeden. Jessica says, “This is a great accomplishment for me. My children will have privacy to grow as young teens, and this will be an asset as young adults.”

Amanda Wise, mother of two, has been a pre-school teacher for 22 years. As she prepares to become a homeowner, she says, “I am building because I want something that will be mine – something built for my kids and me. My house will be a fresh start.”

Stephen Kopp is one of our 2020 Veteran Build homeowner partners. He is a US Army Veteran who has been working towards his goal of owning his first home. Although he is retired, he is always doing what he can to help others, which is a reason he enjoys volunteering with Habitat. “My home will be my key to a happier and healthier life. Everyone should have a home to live in where you are free, safe, and content.”

In the midst of the pandemic, Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco partners remain supportive of its mission to provide safe and affordable homeownership opportunities for those in need. Local community partners sponsored all three of the families’ home builds. Publix Super Markets Charities sponsored the Wise family home, while the Gramatica Family Foundation, One Community Now, and Rotary Club of New Port Richey sponsored the Habitat Veteran’s Build for the Kopp family. Habitat is looking forward to following elected officials attending: Senator Ed Hooper, Commissioner Jack Mariano, Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, New Port Richey City Manager Debbie Manns.

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