Leon County family receives new home

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 8, 2018

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) — A Leon County family was welcomed home Thursday after a total rehab and replacement project.

The work was coordinated entirely through Leon County, with state funding footing the bill. The county’s Human Services Department offers this type of housing assistance to low income families that may need help keeping their home safe, sanitary and affordable.

"It feels great. And I thank God every day when I wake up for blessing us with this opportunity,” said Deirdre Hazelton.

Hazelton said her home had been in the family for more than 90 years. But, over the last five, it began experiencing some major issues that made it almost uninhabitable.

"There were holes in the roof, there were holes in the floor. Certain parts of the house, when you walked in you would actually sink down,” she said.

"When it rains, it was dripping in the house. Roof was caving in. Mold started to grow. We just kind of held it together as a family. Made it more positive,” said Marie Humose, Hazelton’s 20-year-old daughter.

That’s when Leon County stepped in to help lift the burden.

"We want to always be a safety net,” said Shington Lamy, Director of the Office of Human Services and Community Partners for the county.

To receive any assistance, Lamy said all clients must first reach the county’s eligibility requirements. That includes being 80 percent below the median income level for the county. The county also takes into account if anyone with special needs or that is elderly lives in the home.

Once that’s determined, staff goes to the property to see what fixes need to be done to the home. If the cost of the fixes is more than 50 percent of the value of the home, Lamy said often the most cost effective decision is to replace the entire home.

That was the case for Hazelton’s property. The home was leveled and a brand new one was built, which includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a family room and kitchen.

It’s all paid for through SHIP funding, or State Housing Initiatives Partnership. Lamy said typically the county receives about $400,000 annually in SHIP funding. The cost of this project was about $94,000.

He also said over the last year 19 homes were rehabbed or replaced through the program.

For more information on housing assistance, click here.

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