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Cudjoe Key Affordable Housing
Q&A with Habitat

Greg Brown  

Sun, Jul 29, 2018

Heather Ross
Stock Island Times

An affordable housing community is coming to Cudjoe Key thanks to continued efforts by Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Keys. The 16 unit project is expected to break ground next summer off of U.S. 1 and La Fitte Drive, Block 8, Cutthroat Harbor Estates, approximate mile marker 22.5 (see area highlighted in yellow on attached map).

The homes will more than likely be built on-site instead of the traditional modular construction, according to Susan Kent, program services director of Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Keys.

"Traditional site-built construction tends to fit the Habitat model of utilizing the homebuyer's and other volunteers to assist with building, which contributes to the affordability of the project. As you may already know, we select our homebuyers based on need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat. One of the main components of the partnership is a requirement that each partner family must contribute 350 hours of sweat equity."

Below is our Q&A with Susan Kent:

I understand there will be 16 homes and they have an estimated completion date of summer 2019?

We expect to break ground in the summer of 2019, but I don’t have an exact timeline for the project completion.

I've read and listened to BOCC meetings whereby the permitting process as well as fees/taxes have been waived and/or expedited?

As with any non-profit affordable housing project, some fees may be discounted or waived at the discretion of the BOCC.


Do you already have families selected to move into these homes?

No, we have not started accepting applications for the Cudjoe project. Once we open the application period, we will send out media releases to all local resources and will hold informational community meetings from Key West to Big Pine Key as well as meet with area employers to share information about the Habitat Homeownership Program. Information will also be posted on our website and Facebook page.

If not, how would a family submit their interest in living in one these homes?

Once the application period is open, we encourage all interested parties to review the qualifications, attend an informational meeting, and apply.

Is the mortgage structure the same as in past developments?

Habitat structures the mortgages to ensure that the partner families that buy the homes will not be cost-burdened; their housing costs should not exceed 30% of their total household income. That will not change.

Do you/Habitat have a name for the Cudjoe development?

Not yet; the affiliate would certainly entertain proposals for naming rights for the project!


What will be the total number of Habitat homes in the Lower Keys including the Cudjoe development, 61?

Yes, the 16 homes planned for Cudjoe will bring the number of Habitat homes built by this affiliate to 61. We also have 25 affordable rental properties.


Can you explain the layout of the units, number of bedrooms, etc.?

I don’t have details for the projected project on Cudjoe; although it is likely that we will be building the homes on site rather than utilizing modular construction.


Will the build-out take longer than a modular? If so, how does that affect the bottom line, if at all?

It's hard for me to guess about the impact on timing; with modular, we are dependent on the schedule of the company that is building the modular homes. If we build on-site with mostly volunteer labor, we are dependent on the number of volunteers we can schedule. Of course, there are many additional variables that can have an effect on the timeline in either scenario. Overall, we don't expect building on site to have a negative impact on the schedule.

Can you tell me any new or interesting facts Habitat has experienced with the Cudjoe site specifically?

I’m sure we will have more to tell once we get past the permitting process!


Can you explain why Habitat chose Cudjoe Key? The process of selecting sites, the need Habitat saw there?

We’re building on Cudjoe because we’ve partnered with the BOCC who acquired the land through the Land Authority for affordable housing. Our affiliate covers Key West to Big Pine Key in Monroe County, and we understand that there is a critical need for workforce housing in all areas of the Lower Keys. We are always looking for opportunities to build affordable homes.

Was the land acquired through the county or was this land Habitat has owned or was it gifted to Habitat?

Unlike previous projects at Habitat Landing and Bayside Landing, Habitat does not own the land at Loewy Landing or at our projected Cudjoe development; we have a 99-year lease on each of those properties with Monroe County.

Do you have partners on this project you'd like to mention?

We do not have named partners for the planned Cudjoe project yet. We have several partners who have sponsored homes at Loewy Landing, including D’Asign Source, Manley DeBoer Lumber, Hemingway Home and Museum, Wicker Guesthouse, Strunk Ace Hardware, Historic Tours of America, and Publix Supermarkets. 

I understand Loewy Landing isn't finished yet, but thought you may have a tentative date?

The project is nearing completion, and we anticipate that partner families will be closing on the homes in October.

For more information about Habitat, visit habitatlowerkeys.org.


 

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys has named Greg Brown as Executive Director

Greg Brown  

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys has named Greg Brown as the new Executive Director, replacing Mark Moss who passed away in February. Brown is a U.S. Certified Public Accountant and was educated at the University of Miami, where he received his Master’s Degree in Professional Accounting.

Brown has returned to the Keys with his wife Angela. "I'm committed to the mission of Habitat and am excited to return to this community," said Brown, who spent his childhood on Sugarloaf Key. "This community feels like home.”

"My plan is for Habitat to be a leader in community services in the Lower Florida Keys and to serve the community in the most effective and efficient manner.  We have to be extremely responsible in the stewardship of money from our donors and the governmental agencies that fund us.  I've been involved in habitat for 8 years and other non-profit organizations for over 20 years and have seen the positive impact we can have for affordable housing on communities and families," stated Brown.

Greg's most recent position was as Chief Financial Officer of Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio in Columbus. Prior to that, he spent 5 years as Chief Financial Officer of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami.

Previous to joining Habitat he was an independent consultant providing interim CFO services, operational restructuring, and was an international instructor and consultant conducting seminars around the world.

"Greg is extremely qualified to lead this affiliate," said Habitat Board  President Debbie Swift Batty. "I am confident he will do a great job working with our board, staff, donors, and volunteers to serve our community."

Since Habitat's Lower Keys affiliate began in 1993 hundreds of families have been served by programs ranging from home ownership to critical home repairs.

Meanwhile, construction of 10 new homes at Habitat’s Loewy Landing continues on Big Coppitt, along with efforts to assist homeowners in the hardest hit area with repairs to their homes following Hurricane Irma un"” program.

For more information about Habitat, visit habitatlowerkeys.org.


 

Meet and Greet with Diana Nyad
to Benefit Habitat

Habitat Hammers Back!
PHOTO: Everwalk and Habitat staff: (L-R) Marty Elek, Erica Painter, Bonnie Stoll, Diana Nyad, Susan Kent

Join the staff and board of Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys on Saturday, April 7th. From 2 – 4pm at the Gardens Hotel for a Meet and Greet with Diana Nyad. Diana is best remembered by folks in the Keys for her historic Cuba to Key West swim in 2013. Diana, her partner Bonnie Stoll, and their group of volunteers from EverWalk, a new walking initiative, will be working alongside Habitat staff and homeowners on home repair projects in the Big Pine area every afternoon from April 2nd – 6th after their morning 10 mile walk. Their week of volunteerism with Habitat will be recognized at this event.

Entertainment will be provided by local favorites Raven Cooper, Claire Finley, and Megan Clay Constantine. Suggested donation at the door $10. (More if you can, less if you can’t.) Cash Bar. All proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity’s work towards affordable housing and critical home repair.

For more information about EverWalk, visit everwalk.com.

If you are interested in volunteering with Habitat, contact Susan Kent at volunteer@habitatlowerkeys.org or 305-294-9006 ext. 3.

 
 

Habitat for Humanity Breaks Ground
on Ten New Homes

By Mandy Miles Key West Citizen, January 29, 2018
Habitat Hammers Back!
Provided photo Bert Loudenslager, County Commissioner David Rice, Bill Loewy, County Commissioner George Neugent and Debbie Swift Batty celebrated the recent groundbreaking at Loewy Landing, the new 10-home neighborhood being built by Habitat for Humanity on Big Coppitt Key.



Habitat for Humanity broke ground last week on a new neighborhood on Big Coppitt Key, where the nonprofit organization is building another 10 stilted modular homes for families and working residents.

The new homes will be located on U.S. 1 on Big Coppitt, very close to the existing Habitat neighborhood of Bayside Landing, said Susan Kent, program services director of Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Keys.

“The new neighborhood is between the Big Coppitt fire station and the furniture store,” Kent said, adding that eight of the homes will have three bedrooms, while two houses will have two bedrooms.

Families were selected last month for home ownership and will go through a series of financial management and budgeting workshops to help ensure their success as homebuyers. 

“Once the first modular units are delivered, we will announce volunteer opportunities,” Kent said. “The new partner families will be working on the homes as part of the 350 ‘sweat equity’ hours required of each family for them to qualify to purchase the homes.”

In buying a home through Habitat for Humanity, the selected homeowner pays a monthly, no-interest mortgage to Habitat. If they ever want to sell their home, Habitat has first right of refusal, and the owners are limited in the amount they can profit from the sale, which helps maintain the property’s affordability.

The new neighborhood of 10 homes will be called Loewy Landing, named for Bill Loewy, who helped to create the Lower Keys chapter of Habitat for Humanity more than 20 years ago, when the housing crisis was just beginning to make headlines. Loewy and his partner, Bert Loudenslager, helped convince Monroe County officials to acquire the Big Pine Key property that had been Halcyon Trailer Park, which was heavily damaged in Hurricane Georges in September 1998.

From the remains of the park came Habitat for Humanity’s first neighborhood in the Lower Keys.

The new Loewy Landing homes, which have a targeted completion date of September or October of  this year, will bring the total number of Habitat homes in the Lower Keys to 45, Kent said.

 
 
Habitat Hammers Back!

Habitat Hammers Back!

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys is preparing to expand its hurricane recovery response.  Through the Habitat Hammers Back initiative, the local affiliate is working closely with Habitat International to assist homeowners in need.

Debbie Swift Batty, Board President stated, “We’re in a unique position to assist homeowners in the Lower Keys repair their homes with skilled construction staff and volunteers and we’ve received many generous donations for hurricane home repairs.”

Habitat recovery efforts include repair of damaged homes by replacing drywall, rebuilding stairs, decking and fences as well as preforming other construction tasks as needed. 

Interviews are currently being conducted to hire site supervisors, construction managers and intake coordinators with the intent on being fully staffed and ready to begin continuous work to help families rebuild their lives by the beginning of February.

“We’re eager to begin helping our neighbors make their homes a safe a decent place to live”, said Swift Batty.

To qualify for the program individuals must own their home as their primary residence, the family must fall at or below Area Median Income (AMI) guidelines, and be ready and willing to help work on their homes alongside Habitat staff and volunteers.  Due to generous support from donors, homeowner payments will be for materials only, and structured on a sliding scale according to homeowner income.  The labor will be donated to the homeowners.

Key West and Lower Keys Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman and child deserves a decent, safe and affordable place to live.

Applications will be available beginning February 1.

 
 

DEWALT to Partner with Habitat for Humanity

We Love the Keys

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. (November 16, 2017) – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria wrought widespread devastation in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, leaving many families distressed and displaced from their homes. Through its disaster response efforts, Habitat for Humanity thoroughly assesses the shelter and housing needs caused by these storms and works to help rebuild and repair homes alongside homeowners in need of a decent place to live.

DEWALT is proud to announce its partnership with Habitat for Humanity and contribute over $800,000 in tools and monetary support for Habitat’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.

“We’re incredibly proud to support Habitat for Humanity in their recovery efforts,” said Frank Mannarino, president of DEWALT. “We know that disaster recovery is a long journey, but with the right tools and support we hope to make the process a little easier.”

DEWALT and Habitat for Humanity of the Lower Keys will kick off this partnership at the NASCAR Homestead-Miami Race in Florida on Nov. 19. Nearly 900 homes were destroyed and more than 1,000 families suffered damage in the Keys due to Hurricane Irma.

On Nov. 19, No. 20 Toyota Driver Matt Kenseth will sport a special paint scheme supporting Habitat for Humanity with a call to action, asking viewers to give at dewalt-donate.com. All funds raised will be donated to Habitat’s disaster response efforts.

“I’m excited to support Habitat for Humanity in this race,” said Matt Kenseth, No. 20 DEWALT Toyota driver. “I’m always motivated to win, but even more so knowing that we’re encouraging fans to give to a great cause.”

In addition, DEWALT employees are volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of the Lower Keys for a rebuilding day on Big Pine Key.

“Habitat for Humanity is thrilled to have DEWALT’s support,” said Colleen Finn Ridenhour, senior vice president of Development, Habitat for Humanity International. “Having a tool brand such as DEWALT in support of our disaster response work is incredibly impactful for us.”

Additional highlights of the partnership:

  • On Thursday, Nov. 16, volunteers will help give back to two families in need of a decent home.
    • Tony and Rima both work for Sugarloaf School in Summerland Key, Florida, which was damaged by the storm. They live on Big Pine Key with their two children, Claire and Antoine.
    • Rebecca is a school counselor, and her husband Miguel, served in the U.S. Airforce and now works as a security and alarm specialist. They live in the Lower Keys with their three children, Janelle, Collin and Marleigh.
  • Days before the Homestead-Miami race, DEWALT will leverage its tailgate and fan zone presence to raise additional funds for Habitat for Humanity of the Lower Keys. For each fan who signs a 2-by-4-inch wood stud, DEWALT will donate $1 to the organization.

About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower.

About DEWALT

DEWALT is a leading manufacturer of industrial corded and cordless power tools, power tool accessories and hand tools in categories that include woodworking, drilling and fastening, concrete and metal power tools, as well as cutting, abrasive and Impact Ready impact driver power tool accessories. Hand tool categories include measuring and layout, knives and blades, mechanics tools and storage solutions.
With seven manufacturing locations in the U.S., DEWALT remains committed to domestic manufacturing and produced over 90 million individual units of power tools, hand tools and accessories in the United States with global materials in 2016 alone.

DEWALT tools can be found nationally and internationally, wherever tools are sold. With more than 1,000 factory-owned and authorized locations, DEWALT has one of the most extensive service and repair networks in North America. For more information, visit www.dewalt.com or follow DEWALT on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


 
 
 

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6631 Maloney Ave., Stock Island
Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305-294-9006
MAIL: P.O. 5873, Key West, FL  33045
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