Advertisement
  1. News

Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County celebrates its 300th home

Habitat for Humanity celebrates the opening of its 300th home in Pinellas County at  2230 21st Ave. S.,  St. Petersburg. Tamara Harrell and her children, Jacobey Harrell, 11, and Jalicia Lockhart, 10, will be moving into the home. 
[CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
Habitat for Humanity celebrates the opening of its 300th home in Pinellas County at 2230 21st Ave. S., St. Petersburg. Tamara Harrell and her children, Jacobey Harrell, 11, and Jalicia Lockhart, 10, will be moving into the home. 
[CHERIE DIEZ | Times]
Published Jun. 17, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — By the time Tamara Harrell put her key into the lock, she was dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

Owning the orange house on 21st Avenue S was a major milestone for the single mother, one she earned while working full time and studying to become a registered nurse.

"Everything was a challenge, but you gotta do what you gotta do," said Harrell, 33, who has an 11-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter.

Harrell's home also marked a milestone for Habitat for Humanity: The nonprofit has built or restored 300 homes in Pinellas County since the local branch started in 1985. City and community leaders gathered outside the one-story house Monday morning to celebrate the achievement.

"It speaks volumes to the support that Habitat has from the business community, as well as to our other partners," said Mike Sutton, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County.

On hand was Jane Dunaway, the recipient of the group's first home 29 years ago.

"So much has happened," Dunaway said as she looked over Harrell's home. "So much has changed. Each home has gotten bigger and better."

Dunaway, now in her 70s, was 42 when she moved into her home on 13th Street N in St. Petersburg. She had two small children at the time.

"My kids helped build the house," she said. "We all put in the hours together."

Dunaway, who still lives in the home, has tried to stay involved with Habitat for Humanity over the years as a way to give back.

Habitat hopes to build or refurbish 200 more homes in the next four years, Sutton said

He also announced a new home rehabilitation program that will refurbish homes in Midtown's 22nd Avenue S corridor, making them safer and more accessible with upgrades like a new roof or structural repairs.

"We really want to be present at the table with everything that's going on down here," Sutton said. "It's just such a vibrant community."

Harrell grew up about a block away. Her new house is on a double lot, and her sister, Dominique Baptiste, is in the process of finishing her 250 "sweat equity" hours so she can move in next door.

Harrell will pay between $90,000 and $100,000 for the house over 30 years. Her monthly payments, which will include insurance and tax payments, will come out to about $500 per month. Habitat provides the mortgage at a 0 percent interest.

Harrell struggled for about 18 months to finish her "sweat equity" hours on her own home and others. But the juggling was worth it, she said, because it's been hard to find a safe place for her family to live.

They lived in an apartment complex that was ultimately deemed unfit to live in, and a space above a store where she spent only two weeks because a security guard was shot nearby.

She earned her licensed practical nursing certification and now works at Community Health Center. A better job helped her find better housing, she said, but owning a home is the ultimate achievement.

"I can sit in this shady back yard and relax," she said.

Claire Wiseman can be reached at cwiseman@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Follow her on Twitter @clairelwiseman.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The techniques are as varied as the costumes when Gasparilla parade-goers beckon for beads from passing floats. [MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times]
    We were warned. Now the pirates are here. Stay with tampabay.com all day for the latest reports.
  2. President Donald Trump points to the crowd as he arrives to speak during the annual "March for Life" rally on the National Mall, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
    As the Democratic primary intensifies before the first contests to decide the nominee, Trump and his allies have issued a series of curiously favorable comments about Sanders.
  3. Officers later found an adult man with gunshot wounds in a car crash, but are still searching for the second man
  4. After a fire Saturday morning, a boat was left nearly unrecognizable [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The flames were visible from Gandy Boulevard. Nobody was injured in the fire
  5. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, is close to landing a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    The Boston Globe says Peters is days from being given a superintendent position.
  6. “My body, my choice” was the rallying cry on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the state Capitol, where abortion rights activists decried a fast-tracked bill that would raise the bar for minors seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
    Abortion supporters worry about Florida’s move toward parental consent and what may follow.
  7. In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. [AP]
    As Democrats finished their third day before skeptical Republican senators, Trump’s legal team prepared to start his defense, expected on Saturday.
  8. In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a Super Mario figure is displayed at a showroom in Tokyo. After months of being tight-lipped, Comcast executives on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, said the fourth park at Universal Orlando would be based on characters from Nintendo. [KOJI SASAHARA  |  AP]
    Universal Studios is building theme parks based on Nintendo video games across the world. Orlando is set to get its Super Nintendo World in 2023.
  9. People climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge stop under flags flying at half-mast as mark of mourning and respect in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, for three U.S. crew members of an aerial water tanker that crashed Thursday while battling wildfires in Australia. [RICK RYCROFT  |  AP]
    The deaths came during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia’s southeast.
  10. Delvin Ford, 22, of St. Petersburg, is facing a second-degree murder charge after his accomplice, Marquis Golden, was shot and killed by a Pinellas deputy Thursday night, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says.  He says the men -- armed with an AR-15 and a handgun, shown right -- confronted the deputy. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
    The deputy was confronted by two armed men in a St. Petersburg alley, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement