By Sharon Still
FHP, formerly known as Homes for Hillsborough, provides affordable homeownership opportunities to low and moderate-income first-time homebuyers through USDA Mutual Self-Help and HUD Housing Programs.
Income-eligible candidates can achieve the American dream and move into a brand new home with no money down. This program is ideal for those desiring homeownership but having limited resources, states the organization’s website. While the program began more than 40 years ago, Florida Home Partnership, Inc. was founded by local resident, Dorothy Duke, in 1993 under the name Homes for Hillsborough, Inc.
By 1998, the first eight homes were completed in the Homes for Ruskin community (now called Las Villas) and another eight homes were underway.
The communities of Summerview Oaks, Bayou Pass Village and Hidden Creek followed. By 2009, Florida Home Partnership had provided over 400 low and moderate-income families with homes of their own.
The organization has continued to grow and thrive. To date, FHP has assisted more than 650 deserving individuals and families with home ownership in rural Pasco and Hillsborough.
The USDA “sweat equity” program uses the strategies of the old Quaker concept of “barn-raising.” With the help of families, friends and volunteers, eligible families commit a minimum of 600 hours of sweat-equity (a contribution of coordinated labor) to help build their homes and the homes of their future neighbors, thus, helping to reduce the cost of the building process. In addition to building their homes, families have helped build their communities with tree planting and playground installation events.
“In addition to basic construction skills, families learn the importance of incorporating green building, water conservation, energy efficiency tips and personal responsibility,” said executive director Earl Pfeiffer. To celebrate the organization’s 20 years, on Saturday, November 9, FHP will host an anniversary celebration at Lowry Park Zoo for its 650 families and supporters.
Florida Home Partnership, Inc. is located at 201 14th Ave. SE, Suite H in Ruskin. Call 672-7860 for more information or visit www.flhome.org.