Habitat home dedicated in North Fort Myers
Carla Alvarez was ready to give up. The journey to home ownership had become too daunting.
But she stuck it out, and the rewards were well worth it. On Wednesday, Alvarez was given the keys to her own Habitat for Humanity home at a dedication ceremony at her new home on Hubbard Drive.
It was part of a busy week for Habitat, as the North Fort Myers dedication was one of 10 the organization held throughout Southwest Florida, and it was the culmination of the fiscal year in which the organization built or restored 55 homes in Lee and Hendry counties.
“We’ve never had this many dedications in one week. It’s an awesome week of celebration for these families coming in and starting a new path in life,” said Savanna Melton, community outreach specialist for Habitat for Humanity.
Alvarez, a single mother of a 4-year-old girl, was living in an efficiency and hadn’t heard of Habitat for Humanity until a friend told her about it. She applied and was accepted.
Alvarez was required to put in 300 hours of sweat equity, come up with $1,700 in closing costs and attend two home ownership classes that teach about finance, upkeep and other things.
It wasn’t an easy journey. AnaVillacis, Habitat’s homeownership advisor, provided support.
“She said I have to do this for my daughter to pay for college so she can have a better future,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez stuck with it, and not only did she get her home, but has saved up enough money for a better car.
“It’s so amazing, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s overwhelming,” Alvarez said. “I’m happy I achieved it and that we have a home to live in.”
Alvarez received gifts such as an American flag, Bible and doorknocker before Meredith Moiles of Bank of America, which sponsored the home, gave her the keys. The Harry Chapin Food Bank also donated a cupboard full of groceries and cleaning supplies.
Bank of America sponsored the home and donated the land. The property had a dilapidated home on it, which was demolished to make way for a new three-bedroom, two-bath home with lots of living space.
Kitty Green, CEO of Habitat, said moving forward the organization will begin building more homes than doing rehab work.
“We’re tilting a little more toward building homes. We’ll build 30 new homes in the coming year and rehab between 20 and 25,” Green said.