Posted to QuarterlyHouse by Cara in Orlando, FL
It's been over two weeks since an update, sorry about that! I've been busy with my job and also took a trip to NC to watch my brother graduate from UNC Chapel Hill (go 'Heels!). Things have been progressing at a moderate pace, and the stress on our relationship has eased slightly. We filed for a second extension, which was painful to do since it feels like money down the tubes, but we had no option.
We had a visit from Jim and Linda, who as many of you Central Floridians know regularly make their rounds and check out our projects to pick up tips and get ideas of things to avoid. It's always nice to show off our project a bit :).
Jason has been working on baseboards this week, and I am pleased to report that he's moving pretty quickly with this particular task! They look great - hopefully I can share some pictures soon. He's also completed the bar top and second bath counter with granite tile. Our master vanity top was installed last week, and while I don't love it, I don't hate it either.
I have been squeezing in landscaping when I can and am slowly making progress. This is something that would have been easier to do once we moved in, but that's just not the way things worked out, eh?
We had the carpet installers out on Monday, only to have them tell us that they would not be able to install without central A/C and electricity. Home Depot, who KNEW that our project was a new construction home, failed to mention this. Now they want to charge us a trip fee, which we will of course battle them on.
Jason has calls in to both our plumber and electrician, who need to wrap up (yay - toilets!!). After that, the gas sub can tie everything in, carpet can get installed, and we could... possibly... maybe... C/O and move in????? Oh wait, we still have no cabinet drawers or doors. Ah, the life of an owner-builder - you build a house and then move into a fixer-upper. :)
Because I can, I am going to put in a plug and throw something out to you all. My new job is as Executive Director of an organization called Helping Others Make the Effort, a nonprofit in Osceola County. We have a five-acre campus that will provide apartments and supportive services for homeless women and children. The first two buildings are near completion, but I need about $200,000 to C/O. We are in the process of signing a $417,000 grant that will help, but we are short because our original budgets were submitted just before hurricanes Charley, Jeanne, and Frances (yes, it takes that long for grant funds to come through). I am searching for donated materials, labor, etc. We have pre-purchased a lot of the materials, but still need things like carpet, a portion of metal roof, and more. I also have naming opportunities for the buildings, campus, and even the entry road that leads onto campus. It's a great project, so if you can think of anything that would help, please P.M. me. You can also message me if you would like to sign up for our newsletter, the first of which should be going out in the next few weeks. Here's more about the project (the picture attached to this post is a model picture of one of the buildings):
Right now more than 850 school-age children live in motels in Osceola County. Osceola
tourism industry is our double-edged sword: it attracts revenue and stimulates
growth, but at the same time is kept alive by service-based jobs that keep many
families on the edge. Many of these
families have no permanent home and must resort to pay-by-the-week motels. They can’t afford to put a deposit on an
apartment and have little to no savings.
If the earner in the family becomes ill, has no transportation, or loses
their job, they will be just days away from living on the street. With just a
little support and a decent place to live, we can empower these women to become
self-sufficient and improve their family’s well-being.
HOME is a transitional
housing campus that will provide a path to self sufficiency for homeless women
and their children. On our five-acre
campus, we currently have two apartment buildings under construction. When the campus is complete it will be joined
by six additional apartment buildings, a playground, and a community center. Families
will reside at HOME for 12 to 24 months as they get help with employment, education,
financial management skills, and more. HOME is unique because it’s
a social service project that offers an amazing return on investment - women who
graduate will have little or no need for ongoing financial and social service
support. Instead, the tables will be
turned, as the women become able to give back to their community.
program itself is probably best understood when explained in terms of how a
typical family might progress through the HOME program.
“Betty” is a
single mother with two school-aged children.
Betty works in the hospitality industry and makes $7 per hour,
classifying her as extremely low income.
Her take-home pay is approximately $896 per month. Until 2006, they lived at an apartment
complex, but had to move out after Betty became ill and lost her job. Betty
could not afford the deposit on another apartment, so she moved her family into
a weekly motel rental, which costs $676 per month.
and other costs of living, Betty is barely able to make ends meet. She would like to go back to school to
receive a certificate in nursing or another medical field, and also needs help
with one of her children, who has a slight learning disability. Betty will be
screened by HOME staff in order to assess her assets and barriers. If she is determined to be appropriate, she
will receive life skills classes, links to vocational services, and tutoring
assistance for her children (among other services). She will be required to deposit money in a
savings account every month and will need to accomplish incremental goals as
she works towards self sufficiency. A
case manager will work with her on a continuous basis to reassess her family’s
progress and goals. Betty will be
responsible for maintaining her own apartment and providing for her
The process of
becoming re-empowered as a person and a parent is powerful, and Betty will take
pride in her abilities and role within the HOME campus. In 12-24 months, Betty and her family will be
ready to move into an apartment in the community. After “graduation” she will continue to
receive case management services in order to ensure stability in her new
Thanks everyone, stepping off my soapbox now!