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Families get keys to their new home thanks to Habitat for Humanity

Two families got the keys to their future homes Friday.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A University of South Florida graduate with a degree in Biomedical Sciences and her 11-year-old son have a place to call home thanks to Habitat for Humanity. 

Nilda Sanchez and her son Rodney were given the keys to their house in Pinellas Park Friday morning. 

Nilda works as a Disease Investigator for the Florida Department of Health. Rodney is very intelligent, athletic, and remains on the honor roll list at his school. He's interested in soccer, science, SQL code writing and likes to play video games.

“Most of all we love to laugh, because God gave us life and it’s too short to wear a frown," Nilda said.

Nilda’s home was generously sponsored by a group of University of South Florida Alumni.

Nildia and Rodney weren't the only family who got the keys to their new home Friday. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Priscilla Trauger was furloughed from her job in the hospitality industry for two months. “I had a false sense of security. Restaurants are always open, so I thought I would be fine forever. I had no idea how long we would be closed.” Through all of the challenges, Priscilla worked with Habitat to keep her house on track while she got back to work with extra precautions being taken. “Through all of the uncertainty, I at least knew that my family was safe. It has been a tremendously bumpy road, but I knew all along that it would be worth it. I’ve worked so hard for everything my entire life, and I knew that the reward for this would be so much sweeter than anything I’ve had before.”

The Trauger home is sponsored by Raymond James, a longtime partner of Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, it's put the importance of having a home in the front of many people. 

“During these unprecedented times, we must remember that housing is essential. Housing provides safety, stability and shelter. Housing is also an integral part of healthcare”, explains Mike Sutton, president and CEO of the affiliate. “The ability to stay ‘safer at home’ or ‘shelter in place’ relies on the condition that you have a safe and adequate place to shelter in.”

After the fiscal year ended in June, Habitat for Humanity had been able to build 54 homes and served 90 families through the homeownership and home repair programs.

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