By Aida Mallard
Special to the Guardian
When the public and private sector join forces, wonderful things can happen.
And for Gainesville resident Tonya Miller and her children, it will result in a brand new Habitat for Humanity home that they will soon call their own.
Jimmy Southerland, director of construction at Alachua Habitat for Humanity, said the house is being built in partnership with Santa Fe College, the city of Gainesville, Alachua YouthBuild, Habitat for Humanity and the Builders Association of North Central Florida,
Scott Winzeler, executive director of Alachua Habitat, said that since 1986, Alachua Habitat has provided 106 homes, including Miller’s, to eligible Alachua County families.
He said applicants for a Habitat home must be a county resident for at least 12 months, live in a dwelling that needs serious repairs, is crowded or in an unhealthy condition. Other requirements include income eligibility, the ability to pay a mortgage and to provide 400 hours of sweat equity. Those wishing to apply, Winzeler said, must attend an orientation, and one is planned this month at 6 p.m. June 16 at the Santa Fe College Blount Center at 401 NW 6th St. For more information, call 352-378-4663 or visit www.alachuahabitat.org.
“The house (under construction now) has served as great teaching tool,” said Brian Magness, the YouthBuild instructor and a construction professional specialist at SF College. YouthBuild is a free six-month program that provides GED education, construction and job skills training for eligible students ages 16-24.
outhBuild students, along with SF College students, including students in the dual enrollment program, and Habitat volunteers from the University of Florida, participated in the construction of the house, which was partially built at the Charles R. Perry Construction Institute at SF College. Magness said the house was trucked in two pieces to its permanent site at 2403 SE 13th St. in Breezy Acres in southeast Gainesville. Since being at its permanent site, Magness said students have been participating in the construction of the 1,200-square-foot house, which includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a front porch, laundry room, living room/dining room and kitchen.
Southerland of Habitat said Miller and her family also participated in the construction of the house, which is expected to be completed in late June or mid-July. He said the house will be equipped with a refrigerator and stove provided by Whirlpool.
Jane Parkin, SF College director of construction and technical programs, said the house project is a vision of Santa Fe College President Jackson Sasser.
“It was President Sasser’s vision to build a house for a deserving family,” said Parkin. “It’s a wonderful vision and we would want it to be an ongoing process so more houses can be built.”
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