Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties held the first home dedication of its new 29-home HOA community in the City of Fort Myers off Prospect Avenue. The event marked a significant milestone for the organization as it works towards its mission of providing safe, stable and affordable housing for families in need.
Community leaders, sponsors, volunteers, donors and Habitat staff welcomed a single mother of six to her new Habitat home during a dedication ceremony on June 27. Two of Christie Sowell’s children are grown and have moved out, but the mother and four school-aged children had been living in a cramped two-bedroom apartment. Three of the children were using a triple bunk bed to share one bedroom. Now, their newly built Habitat home accommodates the entire family, featuring four bedrooms and more than 1,400 square feet of living space.
“We are deeply grateful for the unwavering support of our community, donors and local government,” said Becky Lucas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties. “Their collective efforts enable us to join hands with families, such as Christie’s, in their journey toward purchasing an affordable home. This is another step in our ongoing commitment to provide safe and affordable housing in the City of Fort Myers.”
Over the last year, Habitat for Humanity built 66 affordable homes in Lee and Hendry counties, with 52 of the homebuyers being women. Alongside volunteers, Habitat homeowners help build their own home by completing more than 300 hours of sweat equity, in addition to attending financial education classes, paying $2,000 in closing costs and committing to pay a zero-interest mortgage set at no more than 30% of their monthly income.
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida (Coke Florida) sponsored the home build, which covers the costs of building materials, supplies and skilled labor needed to complete the home. In addition to financial support, a team of staff members contributed 240 volunteer hours towards the family’s home. Coke Florida leadership and more than a dozen of their associates attended the home dedication to celebrate the family on its journey to homeownership.
“At Coke Florida, our intention with our community-focused engagement is never to simply contribute funds,” said Jack Palmorn, Coke Florida’s territory general manager for Fort Myers. “This Habitat partnership allows up to show up in a way that demonstrates the Coke Florida culture. Throughout construction, we get involved by grabbing hammers and nails and providing whatever help is needed to truly be a part of it. Together, we have built not just a home here in Fort Myers, but a symbol of hope and unity for this deserving family. The Coke Florida family is honored to have played a role in this journey with Habitat for Humanity, and we remain committed to making a positive impact in the communities we serve.”
Situated between McCormick Street and Prospect Avenue, Habitat for Humanity’s newest neighborhood is a 6-acre HOA community in the City of Fort Myers. Planned for 29 single-family homes, the neighborhood features three-and four-bedroom designs, ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 square feet. Habitat plans to complete and dedicate a total of four homes in the neighborhood by August.
To learn more about Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program or to become a home sponsor, visit Habitat4Humanity.org.
About Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties
Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties is a faith-based private nonprofit serving families with a housing need willing to partner. As a developer, builder, mortgage lender, housing counseling agency, retail operator and hurricane recovery organization, Habitat partners with families to build, improve or retain places to call home. Since 1982, Habitat has partnered with more than 1,800 families to help them achieve their dream of affordable homeownership. In addition to putting in 300 hours of sweat equity into building their own homes, Habitat Homebuyers contribute to their closing costs, attend more than 20 hours of financial education classes, and pay an affordable mortgage set at no more than 30% of their monthly income. Through volunteering and providing financial or material donations, everyone can help Lee and Hendry County families achieve strength, stability, and independence. For more information, visit Habitat4Humanity.org.
About Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida)
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned Coca-Cola bottler. Coke Florida has an exclusive sales and distribution territory that covers over 21 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Coke Florida markets, sells, manufactures, distributes, and merchandises over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies. The company is the third largest privately held and the sixth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Coke Florida is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified company and holds the distinction of being named a US Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal for two consecutive years. Coke Florida is also one of the largest minority -owned businesses in Florida, and the fourth largest Black-owned businesses in the United States. The company was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. For more information, visit www.cokeflorida.com.