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Goodbye, Dilapidated Home; Hello, Brand New Home [GALLERY]


By: Lanetra Bennett
July 10, 2013

Leon County, FL - A Leon County woman's home was completely demolished. That's because county officials helped get her a brand new one.

They handed her the keys to her new home Wednesday morning.

"Oh, God." Sixty-one-year-old Ira Dean James says. She is overwhelmed to have a new home for the first time in her life.

She says, "I'm so happy and full. All I can say is, Lord, I thank you. It's been an uphill journey, a long, rough uphill journey. But, the day has finally come that I'm into a new home. Thank you, Lord Jesus."

She turns to hug Leon County Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley to say thank you to her.

The new home is also thanks to Leon County Housing Services' Home Replacement Program and funding from a State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program.

James toured her new three-bedroom, two-bathroom mobile home on King Post Way after commissioners held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.

Her old home was built in 1927. It had become so dilapidated that she says her lungs collapsed, and she had to move out and live with her daughter for about a year.

James says, "When it would rain, it would leak in the front and it mold and mildew. The whole house got like that."

Now, she says, it'll be more like living in a fantasy, than a home.

James says, "Oh my, God, the closets. there are so many closets in here until I was about to get lost. It's a closet in each room and I'm not used to the closets in each room."

When asked, "What do you like the most? What are you most excited about here? James replied, "Moving into my new home. I'm just glad to be in a new environment."

James says she still needs furniture. Once she gets that, she's ready to move into her new home as soon as possible.

Commissioner Lindley is trying to coordinate efforts to help get James new furniture for her new home. Any businesses or donors willing to help can contact the commissioner's office at (850) 606-5300.

The focus of the "SHIP" program is to ensure that very-low, low, and moderate income level residents of Leon County are provided with safe and sanitary housing.


Press Release

Leon County Celebrates Replacement Home
Housing Program Grant Culminates with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony and Keys Presentation

Ira Dean James received the keys to her new home Wednesday morning, thanks to Leon County Housing Services’ Home Replacement Program and funding from a State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program.

Leon County marked this achievement with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and keys presentation for the replacement home. Ms. James’ single-family residence qualified for a grant that allowed for her sub-standard home to be replaced with a new 3-bedroom / 2-bathroom mobile home.

“It is great for the County to partner with state government and local contractors to assist our residents with not only retaining their homes, but making it affordable to do so,” said Board of County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox. “During these challenging economic times, it is through these types of partnerships that the needs of our community can be met.”

Leon County, through its division of Housing Services, has administered the SHIP program for more than 20 years. The SHIP program is funded through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The goal of the program is to increase and preserve the supply of affordable housing units within the unincorporated areas of Leon County.

“This event is a culmination of the vision of the Board of County Commissioners and the efforts of our Housing Services Division staff,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “The housing staff worked very hard on this project and continues to do so with many of the County’s on-going projects that will soon follow this one.”

The primary focus of Leon County’s Housing Services Division is to ensure that very-low, low, and moderate income level residents of Leon County are provided with safe and sanitary housing. The division accomplishes this goal through its many programs which include down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers, foreclosure prevention assistance, home rehabilitation and home replacement.

Leon County celebrated a similar ribbon-cutting ceremony for a storm-damaged home replacement with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Emergency Set-Aside Program funding in December of 2012.

Leon County’s Home Replacement Program allows for the construction of a new home for program applicants whose homes have been deemed unsuitable for rehabilitation. In essence, they are unsafe and beyond repair.

For more information on the County’s housing programs, contact Leon County’s Division of Housing Services at (850) 606-1900 or www.LeonCountyFL.gov/housing. For additional information on County services, contact Jon D. Brown, Director of Leon County Community and Media Relations, at (850) 606-5300 or cmr@LeonCountyFL.gov .

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