In addition to homeownership programs, Habitat for Humanity offers salvage/deconstruction and home preservation programs to help families in need.

By Cat Wright

Brandon shoppers have a new location for finding deals. Habitat Hillsborough opened a new ReStore location in Brandon on Saturday, July 14. The store, located at 501 W. Robertson St., is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Shoppers will be able to find or donate new and gently used furniture, appliances, household goods and much more. A detailed list of donatable items can be found online, or donors can call the donation hotline at 540-7540 to make an appointment or inquiry.

Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County Florida (HFHHC) is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable new homes to lower income families. To be eligible for the homeownership program, candidates must have lived or worked in Hillsborough County for at least one year, and show that they are living in an unsafe home environment or are struggling to make rent payments.

In addition to meeting required guidelines, applicants will complete a certain amount of sweat equity at local ReStore locations and other HFHHC build sites. Homeowner candidates will also complete courses in home maintenance, financial management, credit repair, and even conflict resolution. The homeowner’s family and friends, volunteers and more celebrate the completion of the home and program with a special Key Giving ceremony.

Anna Brooks, General Manager for the new Brandon ReStore, said, “I have personally met and gotten to know some of these families very well. The most rewarding opportunity I have had is attending Key Giving ceremonies for deserving candidates that have met all the qualifications to earn a home.”

Brooks, who has a background in corporate retail management, added, “I find that it is far more rewarding to work hard knowing my efforts help improve the lives of local families.”

Brooks noted that many are unaware of HFHHC’s other programs, including home preservation for families in need. Dedicated volunteers have helped lower income senior citizens, people with disabilities and more with short projects such as lawn care or building ramps.

The organization also runs a deconstruction program. Anyone taking on a renovation project can contact HFHHC before demolition to salvage certain unwanted items at no cost.

“This amazing program benefits our community in so many ways,” said Brooks, “It saves space in our landfills, the property owner receives an itemized donation receipt, perfectly good items are sold at hard-to-beat prices, and the sales of these items helps us to continue our mission of offering affordable housing.”

For more information on Habitat Hillsborough’s programs, or to learn more about getting involved, check out www.habitathillsborough.org.