By D. Shenell Reed


Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County (HFHH) recently announced that an anonymous donor has contributed $60,000 toward the building of its 176th home. To grant the donor’s wishes, the home will be named to honor Pope Francis. HFHH, along with volunteers from Saint Leo University and Sacred Heart Church, raised the walls on the home located at 912 Ellicott St. in Tampa earlier this month. A mother and her 2-year-old daughter qualify for the three-bedroom home and will move in upon completion.

The $60,000 gift gives HFHH a jump start in building the home, and the nonprofit organization had to raise an additional $50,000 to complete it.

“Working in partnership with individual donors and corporations, we are able to build affordable homes that anyone would be proud to live in,” said Tina Swain, the executive director of HFHH. “So, we are honored that the donor would consider us in this effort. We welcome others to join Habitat Hillsborough as we build future homes.”

The anonymous donor also required that HFHH provide a unifying, celebratory opportunity for both Catholic and non-Catholic volunteers to work toward a common goal on the home, quoting Pope Francis “work confers dignity.”

Future homeowner Xeniya McBroom is excited about moving out of the cramped space that she and her daughter share with McBroom’s parents. A native of Kazakhstan, McBroom moved to the United States nine years ago to attend school in Michigan. When her mother moved to Tampa from Kazakhstan, McBroom joined her.

“I’m very excited about moving into my own home with my daughter,” said McBroom. “It will be great for us to have our own space and I can’t wait to move in and make it a cozy home I’ve always dreamed of.”

As with all Habitat homeowners, McBroom had to show she was in need and able to repay the no-interest loan. She also is required to volunteer for 300 hours either in the construction of the home or another HFHH initiative. Before moving in, McBroom has to complete homeownership classes that focus on personal finances, shopping for a home, credit, and other important topics.

Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County became an affiliate in 1987 and is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization founded and operated on Christian principles. Habitat Hillsborough is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their housing conditions. Habitat Hillsborough also operates ReStore, which offers a wide variety of new and used building materials and home goods at discount prices.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity, visit