• Seminole Co. Habitat for Humanity doubles number of homes built for needy families


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Two Habitat for Humanity homes will be given to two different families in need Thursday.

    The two projects mark a special milestone for the charity.

    Crews are putting the finishing touches on one of the homes, which will be dedicated Thursday night.

    It was a foreclosed home but is ready for a family. It's one of several homes Habitat for Humanity has rehabilitated so far this year.

    Eyewitness News first met Ms. Mattie when her Habitat for Humanity home was under construction.

    She moved in Thursday and said she is happier than ever.

    "I can go out in my porch and everyone is like, 'I love your house.' I say, 'Thank you,' they say, 'It's nice' and I say, 'It sure is,'" Mattie said.

    Her stucco green home is one of eight homes the Seminole County chapter built last fiscal year.

    They're on pace to nearly double that number this year. Fourteen new homes are going up between now and next June.

    For the first time, the group is dedicating two homes, in a single day.

    "I think people are really trying to understand Habitat and its mission the more we publicize in our area the bigger it gets," said Chris Keller, manager of the Habitat Casselberry ReStore.

    Organizers said more volunteers than ever have jumped on board and the chapter has become one of the go-to contractors for the county government's program that buys and rehabs foreclosed homes.

    Mattie's old home qualified because it had become unlivable. She proudly said Thursday that's no longer the case.

    "I hardly get from room to room but I still love the house," Ms. Mattie said.

    Families don't get the homes for free. Many have to carry a small mortgage. Thirty-six families are expected to move into new Habitat homes over the next 2½ years.

    Officials for Habitat for Humanity of Seminole County said it has also seen a big increase in funding.

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