Make us your home page
Instagram

Habitat for Humanity plans to build communities in Clearwater and Dunedin

Habitat plans to build a subdivision off N Betty Lane just south of Sunset Point Road in Clearwater called Stevens Creek.

Special to the Times

Habitat plans to build a subdivision off N Betty Lane just south of Sunset Point Road in Clearwater called Stevens Creek.

CLEARWATER — For nearly a quarter century, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County has been building one house at a time. Volunteers with hammers and drills converge on a single lot and build an affordable home for a needy family.

Now Habitat is thinking bigger. In Clearwater and Dunedin, it's going to start building neighborhoods.

The charity's upcoming project in Clearwater, which won approval from a city zoning board last week, will be a 51-house subdivision off N Betty Lane just south of Sunset Point Road. In Dunedin, it intends to build 19 townhomes on Howell Street near Martin Luther King Avenue.

The Pinellas charity is following a nationwide trend of Habitat volunteers building whole communities instead of single homes.

"It is a lot more common now," said Barbara Inman, executive director of Pinellas Habitat. "We used to build a house here and there, but we started doing these bigger projects to really make an impact and not just a dent in the need for affordable housing."

There's another reason, too.

"A lot of volunteers want to work on a Saturday and we just can't accommodate them all. If we have a community we're building, we can put more people to work."

Construction should start this fall on the Dunedin townhome community, which will be called Shady Grove. Work on the Clearwater subdivision, called Stevens Creek, should begin next year and continue for several years.

The new Clearwater neighborhood takes the place of an old public housing complex called Homer Villas that was torn down last year. The Clearwater Housing Authority, which owned the 61-unit complex, got rid of it because it didn't support itself financially. Tenants' rent payments weren't enough to pay for maintenance, the buildings were too old to be retrofitted, and crime was a problem. The authority sold the 9-acre parcel to Habitat for $1.2 million.

The new Habitat homes will be sold to people who make between 30 and 80 percent of the area's median income, said Ron Spoor, Habitat's land development manager.

"We want an esthetically beautiful community that blends in very well and is a proud place to live for each person that's living there," Spoor told Clearwater's Community Development Board.

The board approved the project with no controversy.

"I think it's a great project. It's one that's needed in our city," said board member Frank Dame.

For a family of four, 80 percent of the area's median income is no more than $47,350, Inman said. However, the Habitat homeowners also must earn enough to make their monthly mortgage payments, which are typically $700 or lower, including escrow for insurance and taxes.

Besides the financial requirements to get a no-interest mortgage from Habitat, people must put in a minimum of 250 hours of "sweat equity" by helping to build their homes.

"Most people who apply for our housing are renting something," Inman said. "A lot of times, they can buy a Habitat house for what they're paying in rent."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4160.

Fast facts

How to apply

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County is looking for applicants for new homes in Clearwater and Dunedin.
To learn more, visit www.phfh.org or call (727) 536-4755.

Habitat for Humanity plans to build communities in Clearwater and Dunedin 05/26/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 5:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion

    Briefs

    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 


  2. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
[SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  3. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport

    Airlines

    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]
  4. Google parent leads $1B Lyft investment, deepening Uber rift

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google's parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

    This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]
  5. ReliaQuest opens storefront in mock city of JA Biztown

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown. The storefront is part of a mock city where students learn economic concepts and run businesses. About 20 real-life Tampa Bay companies sponsor storefronts that local students get to run for a day as part of a …

    ReliaQuest, a Tampa-based cybersecurity company, opened a "storefront" Wednesday at JA Biztown, a mock city where students learn to run businesses. | [MALENA CAROLLO, Times]