Habitat for Humanity targets Green Cove Springs for three more homes

By Nick Blank Staff Writer
Posted 7/17/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Habitat for Humanity has a local neighborhood for three new homes, adding to a pair of homes built earlier this year.

Habitat Commons, a 3-lot subdivision on Martin …

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Habitat for Humanity targets Green Cove Springs for three more homes

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Habitat for Humanity has a local neighborhood for three new homes, adding to a pair of homes built earlier this year.

Habitat Commons, a 3-lot subdivision on Martin Luther King Boulevard, would feature a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home and two three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes. The three homes’ square feet will be between 1,200-1,300 square-feet.

Carolyn Edwards, Clay Habitat’s executive director, said the organization was hoping to break ground near Washington Lane in August or September. She said one family had been identified for a home.

After a lengthy process, the final plat was approved by the city of Green Cove Springs last week. Edwards said the nonprofit originally hoped to at least lay down a slab by the end of 2018.

“We’re at the end of the road right now, and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Habitat builds houses for low-income families that earn about 33% of the median area income, or about $24,140 for a family of four, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The United Way classifies some homeowners as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). The report identifies households earning above the federal poverty level and less than the basic cost of living. Referring to the report, Edwards said some working residents were struggling to survive.

A 2018 United Way report said 28% of Clay County households – about 27,000 – were deemed ALICE and 9% were at or below the poverty line in 2016. Clay was below state averages for both figures.

“[Residents] need to have some housing they can afford. These are the folks who are working in local restaurants. They’re bus drivers. They’re teachers. They’re working in hospitals,” Edwards said. “For those making minimum wage, they’ve got to work 108 hours a week in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the market rate.”

Mortgage or rent is commonly the largest expense for a household, though transportation, bills and food cut in. Edwards said Habitat for Humanity’s low mortgage payments would lead to wealth creation for residents.

“This allows them to do more things, with and for their families,” Edwards said. “We’re helping stabilize families and get them out of situations that often are so unhealthy for them. We’re proud of what we do and look forward to how we can help them.”

Edwards said the Habitat needed to adjust to the county’s growth. The First Coast Expressway’s phase one is complete, and it presented a challenge for a nonprofit like Habitat as competition for land increased, she added.

“It makes it a bit harder for us to carry out our mission,” Edwards said. “However, we are not going to be disheartened by that.”

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