Raquell Piper, center, enlisted the help of friends, family and co-workers including Anne St. John (left of center)) to complete the 300 sweat equity hours required to complete her Habitat for Humanity home in Providence Point.

Single mom Raquell Piper doesn’t have a lot. With a single-wide mobile home needing expensive repairs and a 8-year-old son to raise, extras were a privilege. But, being a member of Bay Life Church, she noticed that Habitat For Humanity was in need of some donations. Because the church directs a lot of its giving through the www.meettheneed.com website, she went online to see what was needed and made a contribution that she delivered to Habitat’s offices. On the walls, were photos of families in the process of building their new home.
Piper dreamed of having a home to raise her son in and left thinking about the program.
” I went on their website and  completed their Pre-Qualification Form,” she explains, “The rest, as they say, is history!”
Shortly after filling out the full application, she did an in-home interview after which her file was presented to Habitat’s board for approval. Upon approval, she was placed on the waiting list and then was contacted to fill out the homeowner paperwork.
“I am currently in the process of completing the 300 sweat equity hours required of all of their homeowner candidates,” explains Piper who has been working on homes of her soon-to-be neighbors in their new community, Habitat’s Fourth Hillsborough County community, Providence Pointe along Radio Lane off of MLK Blvd. in Tampa. The community will consist of 15 homes. Three are completed and homeowners are ready to move in in early 2012.
The single-family development highlights green building and 15 charming, bungalow-style homes on 3 acres. Habitat Hillsborough offers floor plans featuring 2 to 5 bedrooms with 2 baths, based on family size. Habitat homes in Providence Pointe will feature an open kitchen/dining/living room area, large laundry and linen closets, a walk-in master bedroom closet, as well as tile flooring throughout the homes. Plus, Habitat homeowners will be able to choose from several color packages to personalize their home’s exterior. They will also have the following energy-efficient features: Whirlpool EnergyStar appliances, compact fluorescent lighting, energy-efficient windows and doors, low-flow faucets and toilets, and Florida-friendly landscaping.
When asked who should contact Habitat, Piper adds, “Habitat is an organization which gives hope to so many people…anyone looking to become a homeowner who does not feel that owning their own home is attainable should contact Habitat, as well as anyone with the desire to help others by volunteering their time and talent.”
Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County Florida, Inc., focuses on first-time homebuyers and families in Hillsborough County by giving them a hand up, not a hand out. Habitat homebuyers must donate 300 “Sweat Equity” hours, be able to assist with closing costs, and make monthly mortgage payments. Habitat homes are sold to qualified homeowners at no profit with a no-interest mortgage.
“We are always seeking families. If you know an individual or family who may be a good fit for our program, please have them contact me, ” said Habitat community relations director Kathy Brogli.
Providence Pointe is soon to welcome its first homeowner and Piper is now working on the completion of her own dream home.
Since 1987, Habitat Hillsborough has built more than 130 safe, affordable homes in partnership with hard-working families and the community. Providence Pointe is Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County’s fourth neighborhood in the Tampa area.
To get involved, visit its website at www.habitathillsborough.com or call Habitat at  239-2242.

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Marie Gilmore
Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!