Help Build A House For a Family in Need

Leon Fooksman
Leadership Palm Beach County
August 24, 2015

On September 12, the LPBC Volunteering Leaders will work with Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County to build a house for a single mother with three children in the historic Northwood section of West Palm Beach.  

The project will change the lives of the deserving, low-income family, but also give you the opportunity to come together as a team to work towards a tangible, visible and impactful goal. Register

We asked Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County’s Chief Development Officer, Amy Brand, to explain her organization’s mission and describe why this project is important for LPBC members as well as our community.

1) What does Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County do?

Amy Brand: HFHPBC provides safe, decent and affordable housing to deserving low to very low-income families throughout Palm Beach County.   We are dedicated to bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.  Our affiliate serves from Hypoluxo Road north to the Martin County line, east to the Town of Palm Beach and west through the Glades.

Our program is not a “hand out.”  It’s a “hand up!”   Families must first qualify for our program.  They must be employed and maintain a minimum credit score to be eligible.  After a site visitation to their current home, and once approved by our Family Selection Committee, families undergo 400 “sweat equity hours” volunteering on their home or another partner family home.  Families must also attend a nine-week course on homeownership.  These classes cover a variety of topics such as “how to be a good neighbor”, debt consolidation, financial planning; all in preparation to ensure their success as homeowners.  When these requirements are met, families receive a 30-year, interest free mortgage.

2) What kind of impact has Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County had on our community over the years?       

Amy Brand: Since our affiliate’s inception in 1986, we have built close to 200 homes in the communities of West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Greenacres and Pahokee.  We have never had a foreclosure and have assisted 196 partner families in successfully attaining their dream of homeownership.  We have had several families pay off their mortgages!

It is rewarding not only to our homeowners, but to our funders, volunteers and many supporters, to see a partner family reach the day where they receive the keys to their home.  This is truly a community effort, and the result is impactful. Together, we are changing lives and breaking the chain of poverty.

3) Explain the project that LPBC volunteers will be working on.

Amy Brand: The LPBC volunteers will be working on the construction of a home in the historic Northwood section of West Palm Beach.  

The homeowner is Nerlande Estimable. Originally from Haiti, Nerlande is the single mother of 3 children: 14 year old Jasmin, 11 year old Jim, and 4 year old Jeremiah. Nerlande works in the medical field and enjoys being able to help others through her work. Nerlande has worked hard to ensure that her children have a better life and a stable environment in which to grow.

Nerlande says: “I am excited about my new Habitat home because I want a safe place to raise my little ones and to provide them with a promising future.”

4) Why should LPBC alumni and current class members get involved in this project?

Amy Brand: Building a Habitat home epitomizes the spirit of Leadership Palm Beach County.  Not only are you exhibiting leadership by taking the initiative to impact the lives of a family, your volunteers are being given an opportunity to come together as a team, working together towards a tangible, visible and impactful goal.

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