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Builders Care, Habitat join forces to help North Fort Myers man

By Staff | Jul 17, 2013

For all they do for needy families in Lee County, Builders Care and Habitat for Humanity would seem to be a match made in heaven.

And after years of mutual respect and one referring projects to the other, the two organizations joined forces to rehab a North Fort Myers home so a man, who uses wheelchair, can achieve the dream of homeownership.

The two groups got together Friday to add a coat of paint to a home that has already received a complete renovation to make it handicap accessible.

According to Heidi Taulman, Builders Care executive director, it was a tag-team effort whose time had come.

“Both of us have served the core community with home ownership needs. This is a Habitat home for someone with disabilities,” Taulman said. “We wanted to work together on this home and since this client also met Builders Care needs, here we are.”

Habitat, which has spent the last several years has worked more with rehabbing homes, had this Howell Creek Circle home donated by Chase Bank, which was a foreclosure.

Builders Care has provided three wheelchair ramps to improve access. Habitat has renovated the bathroom, widened the doorways, added a new roof and septic system, installed new plumbing, and pretty much built a new home, Taulman said.

Volunteers from both organizations came together Friday for a painting party. John Dailey, Habitat’s vice president of construction, said a few words and held a prayer before lunch was served and the rollers and brushes came out.

“We’re getting down to the final stages. We do a lot of new construction and have gotten into rehabs because it was more cost effective after the market collapsed,” said Habitat’s Chairman Don Andrews.

Habitat expected to do 38 homes this year, but because of the generosity of others will far exceed that total by year’s end, Andrews said.

The recipient, who asked to remain anonymous, put in his 75 hours of sweat equity required by Habitat, by being a greeter at its “restore,” said Habitat’s vice president of community outreach Cheryl Garn.

“You walked in the door and he’s very outgoing. He would say ‘Welcome to the restore. Thank you so much for helping me get my house,'” Garn said. “We got a letter from someone from the other coast who told us what a great experience it was.”

He also put in his closing costs and took the classes also required by Habitat, Garn said.

The house should be completed within two to three weeks, and the homeowner can’t wait.

“Bringing these people together shows unity within the (community) of North Fort Myers,” he said. “Whenever you get everybody to help, that’s the whole purpose of God to me, unity.”

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit housing ministry serving families by providing the opportunity for them to own their own home.

Builders Care provides emergency construction services at no cost to needy and deserving elderly and disabled homeowners.