Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Habitat Seeks Support to Help Build Families' Dreams

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Habitat Seeks Support to Help Build Families' Dreams

Article excerpt

Byline: Alexa Jaworski, Times-Union staff writer

WEST AUGUSTINE -- For Shanee Andrews, home is a place her 4-year-old son, Travien, can have his own room.

For Pedro and Letisia De Leon, home is a place where they can welcome their second child in September.

For Alberta Heggs, home is a place the legally blind woman can continue raising her two grandchildren.

For all three families, home could one day be in Hadley Habitat Village, a community being built by HabiSaint, St. Johns County's Habitat for Humanity chapter.

Unlike in most neighborhoods, where new residents don't meet each other until they move in, the three families are already close-knit -- their neighborly bonds sealed through hammering together the walls of their future homes.

There are 15 homesites at Hadley: Four already built upon, three in the works and 11 vacant lots waiting to be filled with families. HabiSaint has applications for 11 St. Johns County families that could move onto those lots.

All the little-known organization needs now are the donations to build those homes, President Joan Moon said.

"For some reason, people aren't aware that we are here in St. Johns County," she said, adding that people tend to assume HabiSaint is linked to HabiJax, which is Jacksonville's successful Habitat for Humanity chapter, with 85 corporate sponsors and 59 paid employees.

Out of the three homes being built right now, the De Leon house may be the only one HabiSaint can complete, Moon said. The lack of funds could force construction to stop midway on the Andrews and Heggs houses.

"I can just hope and pray that more donations will come in for us," Heggs said. "I believe they will. Other than that, it would be out of my hands."

HabiJax was the top-producing affiliate in the United States in 2000, according to Habitat for Humanity International. …

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