Home is where the heart is – Building families, communities and hope

by Karen Coney Coplin

“There is something permanent, and something
extremely profound, in ow ning a home.”
– Kenny Guinn, late Nevada governor

Karen Coney Coplin

Karen Coney Coplin

Since 1978, Habitat for Humanity of Collier County has heeded the call of both the permanent and the profound while building over 1,600 “simple, decent” homes for Naples and Immokalee residents.

This mission continues in a steadfast fashion, as there are numerous children and families living in the greater Naples area in deplorable, substandard conditions and overcrowding. The local organization is recognized as among the most successful and oldest Habitat affiliates in the United States; it in turn recognizes that there is much ongoing work to be done to help local families eliminate poverty housing conditions. Perhaps you want to get more involved with Habitat Collier?

Just last month, the organization joyously celebrated seven families moving into their new homes. As this issue extends from May through July, both Mother’s Day this month and Father’s Day in June are days of honor for much of our readership. What more fitting tribute then, to know that nineteen more children, treasured by their families, now have a safe place to call home, and their own yard to play in!

There are many stories Habitat families share about their move to a safe, stable home, and the overwhelming, positive outcomes it hason children who otherwise would live in distress.

And last year marked the very first Habitat home constructed within the Naples City limits in the popular, well-established Lake Park neighborhood.

“Home is the nicest word there is.”
– Laura Ingalls Wilder, American
pioneer and author

Who are Habitat’s families? Habitat for Humanity follows longestablished guidelines including legal U.S. residency, a year or more of living and working in Collier County, ability to repay and the ability to partner in building their family’s home – 500 hours of “sweat equity” are required of future homeowners. Families also make a down
payment and an insurance deposit, and, upon closing, pay interestfree mortgage payments which in turn fund future new construction.

Triumphs like these cannot happen without the generosity of the organization’s board, staff, donors, and – perhaps no other the Heart is building fa milies, communities & hope organization so depends on ‘manpower’ – the volunteers who work alongside Habitat families to help them construct their homes.

Do your hands do the equivalent of dancing’s two left feet when you pick up a hammer? No need to worry about sore thumbs – Habitat for Humanity offers you the chance to donate a Box of Nails, a Shade Tree, a Front Door, or even a Front Porch donations ranging from $50 – $500 or contact Habitat to customize a donation. Larger
donations include sponsoring a family ($50,000) or a child’s room ($2,500) with an array of options in between or in somewhat more modest amounts, like windows ($1000) or paint ($100).

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”
– Milton Berle, American comedian and actor

But there are many other ways to help. Board member and Family Selection committee member Barbara Sill recalls a cocktail party hosted by friends in Pelican Bay, which introduced her and her late husband, Michael, to the organization. They and other guests were transfixed by the passion and dedication of the guest speaker, Sam
Durso, M.D., now President of the Board of Directors. “He was newly retired and lived on Marco Island. Yet he was ‘working’ fulltime as a volunteer, driving to Immokalee and building homes. He had a passion for this organization which was compelling and real.

We embraced this organization as a result of this introduction, and my involvement and support have continued ever since.” She and her late husband likewise shared the organization’s mission and successes with their friends in similar gatherings.

Barbara also pointed out that family mentors are needed. What homeowner among us hasn’t been stymied by a plumbing issue, or other item needing repair? For many Habitat families, sometimes a lifetime of renting has left a void of experience in routine household maintenance or emergency situations. Habitat Collier offers classes,
many volunteer taught on various aspects of home ownership.

If you want to become involved with this organization, know that your “time, talent, and treasure including furniture and land” are welcomed. Call 239.775.0036 or visit www.HabitatCollier.org to inquire about ways you can contribute to build an affordable house for a hardworking family. This is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization
Email Karen: NaplesKCC@gmail.com if you have a Habitat experience to share or wish to promote another organization doing often unsung good deeds. She thanks Barbara Sill for highlighting this organization’s unwavering commitment helping families find their own “Home, Sweet Home”; and in so doing, contributing to the greater civic good for Life in Naples.

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