Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
9:15 am EDT
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter has housing projects in the works


Mount Dora Mayor Catherine T. Hoechst, Nadine Foley, and Monica Wofford pose for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 7 for a new home to be built by Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. // Provided photo.

Mount Dora Mayor Catherine T. Hoechst, Nadine Foley, a friend and representative of Nancy A. Penn Shaner Trust, and Monica Wofford, a Habitat Lake-Sumter board member, took part in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony July 7 for a new Habitat home to be built at 602 E. Jackson St., Mount Dora.

Bank of America will be the corporate sponsor for the project along with community involvement provided by bequest gifts from the Ohlsson Charitable Trust and Nancy A. Penn-Shaner Trust.

“The community involvement is stemming from individual donors who had the forethought to contribute this way,” says Lacie Lacie Himes, associate development director for Lake-Sumter Habitat.

She adds that the collaboration between Habitat and Bank of America has generated $56,000 in grants over the past several years for new home construction, preservation and repair.

Due to COVID-19, the building site on Jackson street in Mount Dora will be closed to volunteer workers. “We are slowly opening certain locations for volunteers, but we tend to gauge the response to the current climate,” says Lacie.

Also before the coronavirus hit, Habitat had planned on female builders to start building a new home construction project in Leesburg, but they had to scale back fundraising and postpone the home build.

“Many awesome female leaders in our community still wanted to support local families,” says Lacie. “So, they raised funds as a group and funded two critical home repairs that had been delayed and were at risk of not happening due to lost resources because of COVID-19.”

As a result, Habitat will host the following two Women Build projects:

Rotarians from Leesburg Evening Rotary will be volunteering to serve Caitlyn Dotterweich and her three young sons, ages 12, 4, and 1, at their home, 11327 Grove St. Leesburg, from 8am to noon on July 11.

The mother and her boys do not have any family in the area, and have lived in their current residence for eight years.

“Caitlyn was approved for a matching grant through USDA and Habitat to have windows and her roof replaced,” says Lacie. “Women Build is helping provide them with a gate for an added feeling of security for Caitlyn and her boys, and painting to give her home a fresh feel while she waits for the window and roof replacement.”

This project is being sponsored by Bsmart Masonry and Leesburg Evening Rotary.

A second Women Build project is being sponsored by Dragon Sisters Club and Zontas Club, both female-led clubs from The Villages, and it will take place 8am to noon July 13-17 at 213 Jackson St., Wildwood.

The Dragon Sisters will be on site daily to build a ramp for Dorothy Harrison, 87, the widow of a U.S. Army veteran.

“She does have some family in the area but has no children of her own to help her with hard times,” says Lacie. ” She has lived in her current residence for 61 years. The insurance company was threatening to drop her due to roof issues, so our Women Builders assisted in raising funds to repair her roof, fix her air conditioning, paint and build her a new accessibility ramp.”

Lacie notes the families Habitat serves are often those who were struggling prior to the coronavirus and that their struggles may have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

“A stay-at-home order is especially tough when you are living in a potentially unsafe and unhealthy environment,” adds Lacie.

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida has been working to provide affordable housing solutions since 1989. It is an affiliate of Habitat International, and its mission is to empower families to achieve strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter and in a shared vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.