TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. — As thousands wait for Tampa to reopen their rental assistance program, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County is building affordable homes for families in Temple Terrace.
The community is called Silvio Palms and 12 families now live there. It's a project that was made possible by volunteers. Several volunteers were staff members from 10 Tampa Bay who assisted in building the homes in December 2022.
One woman who moved into a home said this home brings her so much relief. She is a grandmother of two, but both children are taken care of by her. Kristina Reyes works full time in early education as she supports both children. She explained finding a housing with three bedrooms that she could afford was stressful.
"When the kids were gifted to me that was life changing, knowing I needed a three bedroom home. I was living in a one bedroom apt paying $1,650 and barely making it," Reyes added.
She was looking for homes in Tampa, but the prices were unrealistic.
"Sleepless nights and worrying. Really it makes you sick to your stomach to know that in order to hold the children you needed to meet some kind of requirements," Reyes explained.
Reyes isn't alone. So many families struggle to find an affordable house to buy.
For help, Reyes turned to Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County.
Reyes was one of 12 families who received a home that was built by volunteers. The homes aren't given out for free. The families will pay an affordable mortgage for them. No ones mortgage is more than 30 percent of what they make.
Habitat for Humanity officials explained the homes consist mostly of single mothers and their children.
Those families have now become close friends as many are in similar situations.
"The lack of affordable housing has become a national crisis," said Richard Rogers, the Chief Development Officer for Habitat of Humanity of Hillsborough County.
With that, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County is working on another community in Temple Terrace.
That will consist of 25 affordable homes for families. It will be close to Chamberlin High School in a community called Curiosity Creek.
If you would like to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, you can register online.