From left, Natali Mendoza, Jovana Paljokic, Bruce Stewart, Lidiana Batista Fernandez and Yeniley Morejon, all of Wells Fargo, celebrate critical repairs to a couple’s Key West home that was funded with a $15,000 grant from Wells Fargo. CONTRIBUTED

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys received a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation as part of its nationwide initiative to help low- to moderate-income families build and improve their homes across the U.S. 

Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys received $15,000 to help repair a home in the city of Key West for a low-income family. Wells Fargo employees from the local branch joined Habitat staff to finish off the repairs and paint the porch. The older couple living in the home were thrilled and happy to say that they are also loyal Wells Fargo customers, although that wasn’t a requirement for the grant repairs.

At least one in six Florida households spends over half of their income on housing, and the number of Key West families who are struggling to afford rent is on the rise. On top of housing costs and rising insurance rates, a new study has found that Key West residents spend $2,761 on monthly bills – 38.6% higher than the average Florida resident. Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Florida Keys is working closely with local government as well as the state to address this need.  

“The cost of housing in our area is not sustainable. Families, who make up the backbone of our community, are leaving in droves. Rising insurance rates are exacerbating the issue,” said executive director Kristina Welburn.  The grant funding is part of a $7.75 million donation to Habitat for Humanity International through the Wells Fargo Builds program to support the construction, renovation and repair of more than 350 affordable homes across the U.S.