Meet the Barnes Family

The national health emergency has lead to devastating job insecurity, which only exacerbates the affordable housing crisis in Tampa Bay. Many families already spend over half their income on housing, forcing painful choices between paying rent and feeding their children.

We partner with residents of Hillsborough County who are committed to building a safe, decent place for their families to live. Our homeowner candidates earn between 30 and 80% of the Area Median Income and live in substandard rental housing. Typically, they are crowded into over-priced, badly maintained apartment complexes where they are afraid to let their children play outside. Unfortunately, finding a different apartment is not the answer: as rent continues to skyrocket in Tampa, these families can only afford to move to another rundown rental in a struggling neighborhood.

Alexis Barnes, a single mother with two young sons, has moved repeatedly in search of a better situation (“my oldest child is 10 and we have moved more times than he is old,”) but runs into the same poor-maintenance problems while rising rental costs make just keeping a roof over their head difficult.

Alexis’ dream of homeownership led her to Habitat. Owning her own home means “safety, comfort, security and peace of mind. A home will ensure that my family doesn’t have to endure another night of homelessness because of rising rent prices. It will allow my kids a place to grow.”

The Barnes Family moved into their new home in June – across the street from a park with a playground.

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