Habitat for Humanity hosts workshop

Photos of Thursday’s Big Bend Habitat for Humanity workshop courtesy Asya Griffin

Big Bend Habitat for Humanity hosted a post-purchase workshop for Leon and Gadsden counties on Thursday.

The event was held at the American Red Cross on Eastwood Drive.

According to habitat.org, Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing organization operating in local communities across all 50 states and in over 70 countries. Since 1976, the organization has positively impacted the living conditions of more than 46 million people.

FAMU alumna and the Advancing Black Homeownership program manager, Nicole Everett, conducted the post-purchase workshop to discuss homeownership responsibilities, including financial matters, home maintenance and community engagement.

Everett said that the workshop is a recent addition by the organization and she hopes to expand it further in the coming year.

“This is a little new for us; we held this one today and will do another in November,” Everett said. “However, I hope that in 2024 we can have a quarterly schedule of post-purchase classes.”

The workshop included four guest speakers: Leann Watts-Williams, supervisor of the City of Tallahassee’s neighborhood services; Andy Janecek, director of public relations at the Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office; Spencer Conner, Home Ownership manager of the Tallahassee Lenders Consortium; and Colleen Mullen, director of Pro Bono & Volunteer Engagement at Legal Services of North Florida.

Each speaker provided valuable insights to educate prospective home buyers.

Williams initiated the workshop, explaining her team’s services for registered neighborhoods. These services encompass neighborhood safety, grant programs, and the Neighborhood First program, which can all be accessed on the tal.gov website.

Janecek followed with a brief discussion educating homebuyers on how paying property taxes benefits the community and the potential exemptions they may qualify for.

Conner and Mullen wrapped up the workshop by informing residents about programs for foreclosure counseling, safeguarding their financial investments, and establishing trusts.

William Young, who purchased his home six months ago, said that the workshop was helpful, and he was able to obtain information about some of the things he needed.

“I have been working on getting everything in order with my kids getting older and seeing who I would pass everything off to make sure everything goes according to my plan,” Young said. “I also learned a lot of information about the neighborhoods, which I’m looking to get involved with,” he added.

Everett says the advice she would give someone interested in buying a home is to count up the costs.

“I say, count up the cost, look at the pros, look at the cons, and see if this is something you want to do because there is some dedication, accountability, and responsibility that goes along with it.”