Dear Habitat Supporter,
As a community, we saw great devastation after Hurricane Irma ripped through our county on September 9, 2017. As you know, huge trees were uprooted, roofs were ripped off and homes were completely destroyed. The county’s damage assessment immediately following the storm reported over 13,000 damaged homes, with at least 144 being completely uninhabitable, and total damages estimated to cost over $360,000,000. As the leading housing non-profit agency in the county, Habitat has taken the lead to work with the county’s emergency management staff and FEMA as we all work toward recovery.
Within days of the storm, Habitat began working with the community to offer clothing and appliances to families who needed it the most. With longer term community recovery in mind, a temporary office was opened at FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center to better serve the community. To date, Habitat has received over 275 applications and referrals for major and minor home repairs, as well as new, permanent housing. As we partner with the community to recover from Hurricane Irma and to improve the overall housing landscape, we know that our best defense against future disaster is to overcome substandard housing by replacing it with housing that is stable, sturdy and affordable.
Following Hurricane Irma, we heard time and time again from partner families that their Habitat home was safe, secure and free from major damage. With almost one-third of our flagship neighborhood complete, Mason’s Ridge is poised and ready for the construction of forty new homes to not only improve the affordable housing stock in our community but also to offer a permanent, affordable housing solution for those whose homes were damaged beyond repair. As Habitat for Humanity seeks volunteers and donors to support hurricane relief efforts, we are committed to partnering with Highlands County to overcome the devastation of Hurricane Irma and come out more resilient than ever.
We invite you to review sponsorship information and join us as “Highlands Hammers Back” together! As you consider your involvement in the Highlands Hammers Back program, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and share more about partnership opportunities—contact Blair Pakowski, Development Manager, at 863-385-7156.
Sarah Pallone Creekmore, Executive Director
Rev. Ron DeGenaro, Jr., Board President