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December 2020, The Home & Garden Issue

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December 2020, The Home & Garden Issue

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The Editor | A Letter from Liz Green

Dear Readers:

On the day we were to begin production on our annual Homes issue, I was late to work because my husband discovered water damage on the floor in the hallway outside of our A/C closet. Our unit had been leaking water for who knows how long.

That was only the start of the fun.

Our floors got torn up to check for mold. Luckily we had none. Just very wet subfloors.

Then came the fans. And the dehumidifier. And with them, the noise. So very much noise. Twenty-four hours a day. For days. It was so loud it was difficult to have conversations. It was hard to think.

Almost a month later, the fans are all gone and the A/C is repaired. Now we are just waiting for our insurance to give us the go ahead to replace the floors.

Home ownership is fun, isn’t it? I’ve had that conversation with a lot of friends lately as we all endure the seemingly never-ending struggle of home ownership.

It’s a struggle we are very fortunate to have because we can afford the struggle.

According to the United Way of Charlotte County, 34 percent of households in our community are “ALICE families” (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) who “work hard and earn above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but do not earn enough to afford a basic household budget consisting of housing, child care, food, transportation and health care.” The Household Survival Budget for Charlotte County is $57,792 for a family of four. Additionally, 11 percent of households in our community live at the Federal Poverty Level—$24,300 for a family of four. ALICE families are living somewhere between these two numbers.

ALICE families cannot afford to wake up to water damage. They don’t have the savings for unexpected expenses. They typically cannot even afford to own a home.

And that is where organizations like Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity come in, helping hard-working ALICE families secure affordable housing. Since 1987, Charlotte County Habitat has helped more than 448 families achieve the dream of home ownership and this year plans to help an additional 35. You can read about five of those families, and what went into building their homes, in this issue beginning on page 48.

Thanks to the generosity and support of five local contractors—Ander K. Jackson Construction, Coastal Property Group of Florida, Florida Premier Contractors, Harbor Home Builders and Truex Preferred Construction—and hundreds of volunteers, Charlotte County Habitat built five homes in just five days during their 2019 Builders Blitz. Think about that. They built FIVE entire homes in FIVE days.

Now five families get to experience the true joy of home ownership that many of us take for granted each day. And thanks to the support and financial planning courses these families have received through Habitat, when those not so joyous aspects of home ownership arise, they’ll be ready.

I hope you enjoy the issue.

Sincerely,


Liz Green

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