This year, Habitat for Humanity of Brevard is celebrating 35 years of service in our community. The affiliate strives to raise funds and awareness to build decent, affordable housing for Space Coast families of modest income.
Established in 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County has assisted more than 500 families in building and purchasing homes through a vetted process that includes sweat equity helping build Habitat homes, classes in financial literacy, and community engagement. The process can take from 18 to 36 months for qualified applicants.
“There are so many people in the community who need our services, we have to work harder to get the word out,” said Chris Meyers, chair of development for Brevard’s Habitat for Humanity, the local arm of the global nonprofit organization with a mission of seeking to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Through this challenged past year, Habitat’s ReStore in Palm Bay has been able to remain open with limited hours. The ReStore continues to take donated home and construction merchandise. Through the generosity of the community the ReStore, a critical component in Brevard Habitat’s success story, continues to take donated home and construction merchandise.
The organization was able to continue construction efforts without the assistance of volunteers in an attempt to keep construction crews healthy. Anna Terry, Executive Director said “we are excited that we had a double wall raising for two families in Melbourne and were able to move another family into their home in time for the holidays. Other programs continue to function including essential home repairs and revitalizing neighborhoods for families, veterans and the elderly.”
Also last year, two female veterans took up residence in the Female Veterans Village in Cocoa. The first of its kind in the nation, the village was established in 2017 through a number of community partnerships and corporate donations, which fully funded the construction of six homes. There are four remaining future home available and Habitat Brevard is actively seeking female veterans.
Meyers said she and Carey Gleason, Habitat’s vice president of development, are thinking of ways to further assist those who are housed through the program to ensure continuity of lifestyle, security and community.
“We are actively recruiting mentors for our homeowners to address other services they may need, to include things like educational (tutoring support) for children, ongoing financial literacy guidance, how to maintain their homes and yards, among others,” she said.
“We want to offer them support beyond the home-ownership – it’s smart for us to do for them and good for the community,” she said.
Shawna Lucas (formerly Kelsch) has lived and worked in Brevard county for the past 20 years, serving in a variety of jobs and community service roles. She’s a former food and news reporter for Florida today, and was owner/operator of a marketing company that assisted clients and partners such as the Florida Healthcare Coalition, Blue Cross & Blue Shield Foundation for Florida, The Brevard Health Alliance, and Florida Tech to identify and solve pressing community health issues. She has she has dual bachelors degrees in Journalism and Sociology from the University of Miami, and was an inaugural fellow at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.