Two more Marathon families are happily ensconced in new homes. They are the 36th and 37th families to be served by Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys. The official move-in date was at the end of July, and the normal dedication ceremony was converted into a virtual affair.
Mac and Teri are in one of the four units with their three children, and Danny and Neli are in another with their two young children. The families are Habitat’s target family audience — school teachers, local government employees, retail and office workers.
“Owning our home is amazing,” said Teri, “because frankly I didn’t see that happening.
“But we love the neighborhood, too. We do a nightly walk around the neighborhood but we probably do more talking to our neighbors than walking,” Teri said, laughing.
Neli and Danny were even considering moving out of the Keys before this opportunity presented itself.
“We love this town and are so happy we get to stay here because we didn’t think it would be possible to purchase a home in the Keys with the high prices,” Neli said. “We just can’t put enough emphasis on how grateful we are.”
This “build” is a little different from others in two ways. First the construction is steel frame, unlike the former modular construction, and required lots of volunteer help. Two, the land under the homes was made possible by a purchase from the Monroe County Land Authority.
“We have so many people to thank,” said Habitat for Humanity of the MIddle Keys’ Chris Todd-Young. “Without the City of Marathon and Monroe County this could not have happened. We were able to lease the land and build the units.”
While professional builders oversaw the erection of the steel frame homes, this type of construction required lots of finishing touches completed by volunteers.
“The contractor guided our volunteers,” said Todd-Young.
Groups from around the country, as well as locally, including D’Asign Source and Zonta, helped finish the houses. They are three-bedroom, two-and-a-half baths that have about 1,200 square feet. As always, the new homeowners are paying a 0% interest mortgage and are responsible for paying their own taxes and mortgage.
Teri and Mac put a lot of “sweat equity” into the project as well and included their kids in the effort. In the Middle Keys, that often means supporting Habitat’s fundraising efforts — ringing the Salvation Army bell, selling tickets for the fishing tournament.
“Habitat is amazing. I don’t think many people recognize everything that they do,” said Teri.
“As the current board president I am privileged to have a great board and executive team to be able to provide home ownership to our hard working locals which is both affordable and safe place to raise their families,” said John Johnson, also Marathon’s fire chief. “ Last week we finished 4 units that will house those families. We look forward to building our community for years to come.?The newest Habitat development is located in midtown Marathon. Two families have already moved in, and a third is on the cusp. Habitat of the Middle Keys is accepting pre-qualified applicants for the fourth. Download and print the 2-page prequalified application form from www.habitatmiddlekeys.org, complete it, scan it and send it back to [email protected]. Hard copies can also be picked up outside the Marathon office located at 8055 Overseas Highway in Marathon. Call 305-743-9828 for questions.