Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches Habitat Sights Set on 9 Houses This Year

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Beaches Habitat Sights Set on 9 Houses This Year

Article excerpt

JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- One Saturday in April, a woman sang the

Lord's Prayer and a Bible was handed to a single mother of four

-- an unlikely new homeowner.

About 30 people bowed their heads in prayer that day,

christening a creme-colored, red-trimmed Beaches Habitat home.

Beaches Habitat is separate from Habijax, but both groups are

part of the national Habitat for Humanity program that works to

build houses for low-income families.

Three Beaches Habitat houses have been built this year and the

organization plans to build six more by December. Seven houses

were built in 1997.

Homeowner Brandon Terrell said a little bit of faith is poured

in with the concrete foundation. Terrell moved into the first

Beaches Habitat home built on Francis Avenue in Atlantic Beach

five years ago.

When he and his family were promised a Habitat home, he was

told by Beaches Habitat they really didn't have the funds to

complete a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house for Terrell, his

wife and the three children he had then.

" `We don't have any money,' they told us, `but we'll do it

anyway,' " Terrell recounted. "Now, that's faith."

It took faith for Ralph Marcello to leave AT&T after 25 years

and pioneer Beaches Habitat with a friend about six years ago.

"We've grown from building one to two houses a year to nine to

10 houses," said Marcello, executive director of Beaches

Habitat.

Two houses under construction on Robert Street in Atlantic

Beach that should be completed in June are the organization's

29th and 30th houses overall.

"What's really made it possible is the generosity of the

Beaches people, churches, corporations, individuals and a

partnership with Jacksonville Housing Authority," Marcello said.

Beaches Habitat learned from Habijax about partnerships, where

a company helps foot the bill for materials. "We're trying to

use the same successful strategy Habijax has used."

That partnership with the Jacksonville Housing Authority helped

build a Jacksonville Beach home completed in April.

"We want to help people become self sufficient, move out of

public housing, and assist them with job training and home

ownership," said James Pellot, senior vice president with the

housing authority's housing management division.

The housing authority received a $1.5 million grant from the

Duval County Housing Finance Agency to foster home ownership

among low-income people.

"With a new home, there is promise. There is the opportunity.

There is a sense of pride and achievement," said Barlow Taylor,

who manages public housing in Jacksonville Beach. "That builds a

belief in children that they can achieve whatever their dreams

are. …

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