CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Southwest Florida is all about giving back to our community, and Saturday began a very important project. It won’t only build a better tomorrow for one local family, but build a lifetime of memories as well.
Hard hats, tools, paint, screws, and a lot of “Women Power” is going into this very special home built by Habitat for Humanity.
“Three quarters of our habitat families are headed by single moms,” said Kelly Green, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity for Lee and Hendry Counties.
She says that’s why the non-profit started women build, “we wanted to get more women involved in helping their fellow women.”
The home is being built for Marisol Santiago and her three kids. A single mother who works tirelessly to support her family.
“I was renting and I felt that my money was going to waste on someone else’s mortgage, so I thought I would apply for a home that I can put my money into my own home,” said Santiago.
Green adds, “our goal is to help families who are trying to help themselves.”
She says the average price for a two bedroom apartment in Southwest Florida is more than $1,000. “Somebody making minimum wage, that’s three quarters of their income.”
“I like stability,” said Santiago. “I like to stay in one place, and not move everywhere to apartment to apartment.”
The families that receive assistance are making 80 percent less than the median income in our community. Santiago will still need to make payments for the house, but those payments will only be 30 percent of her income making the home affordable.
“I can only guess how she feels, thinking all these people are here to help her,” said volunteer Vicki Ramey.
This is the first time she has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity while living in Southwest Florida.
She says she’s she also struggled a few years ago, and is grateful to help someone she can identify with.
“Oh my gosh, I would have been in heaven. To think, somebody’s going to do that for me,” said Ramey.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Santiago. “I’m excited and nervous.”