Good News - August 2023

COVER STORY 31 AUGUST 2023 Good News • South Florida Edition wealth. For example, home values surrounding the Rick Case Habitat Community in Pompano Beach increased in value 44 percent more than the city average, according to the study. From a business perspective, the Jorge Perez Metropolitan Center study concluded, “While the effects of owning an affordable home are vast and often invaluable, at the heart of this effort is the enablement of economic mobility and resiliency.” Apostles Build It is also being embraced by the Church. In 2016, 13 churches joined forces to construct a home in Oakland Park as part of an Apostles Build, including Christ the Rock Community Church, West Pines Community Church, Living Word Open Bible, Parkridge Church, Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Plantation United Methodist, Real Life Church of Coconut Creek, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Parkway Christian Church, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Christ Church United Methodist, First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale and Saint Anthony Catholic Church. Rob Pacienza, pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, said., “We were part of the Apostle Build. We’ve gotten behind our second build, and we’ve been instrumental in trying to get other churches in the in the region behind habitat. By partnering with Habitat for Humanity, Pacienza said, “The church is not only restoring human souls but also restoring neighborhoods, communities, homes and families to show that Jesus is not just relevant in our personal spiritual lives, but also our public physical lives. Habitat for Humanity of Broward gives the church an opportunity to show the world that Christ changes everything, and ultimately does provide for the least of these.” Kathy Craven, a lifelong member and deacon at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity since 1992 and recalls when a member of their church, Attorney Bill Zeiher, helped found the Broward affiliate in 1983. “We do a lot of mission work at our church and Habitat for Humanity of Broward is our standard bearer mission,” said Craven. The church has built 20 Habitat homes since its inception and will break ground on their 21st home this year. “I got involved because of hurricane Andrew and was going down to Dade County to do repair work.” Then the church used excess hurricane relief funds to build two of their early Habitat homes in Dania for families displaced by the storm. A volunteer army Kraven has been volunteering with Habitat Broward on builds almost every Saturday since then, previously served on the board for 20 years and is currently a construction lead for volunteers. “As a Fort Lauderdale native, I wanted to give back to the community,” she said, “And at the end of the day, there’s a lot of gratification because you can see what you’ve accomplished.” “We’ve got this rich history of volunteer leadership. That’s one of the things that makes Habitat so unique. We literally are a volunteer army,” said Robin. Last year alone 8,000 volunteers contributed more than 45,000 hours of service to the cause. Nancy Robin describes their construction site as a spiritual place. “We start our builds in the morning with a circle of prayer and it is a place that is leveling the playing field. You are building with homeowners and fellow volunteers from every walk of life including business leaders who are running multi-million-dollar corporations. It just brings out everybody and levels it.” Habitat for Humanity homes are built primarily by volunteers with skilled construction staff and volunteer leaders providing training and supervision. Team Build Days are a wonderful opportunity for corporations, churches and organizations to give back to the community while building a stronger, more connected team. “The CEO Build is a classic example of that where 50 top CEOs from Broward, representing over one third of our workforce between them, come out to lead from the front. Many of them have Habitat families employed by their businesses,” said Robin. “Brent Burns (CEO of JM Family Enterprises, Inc.) and Keith Koenig (Chairman of City Furniture) have been the chairs of that event every year and have been involved with Habitat for decades. They leverage it as team building because when you are on a roof working with your staff and leaders, you bond in a way that’s different than other circumstances.” Looking ahead We asked Nancy Robin what she sees as the greatest challenge facing the Habitat Broward going forward. “The greatest challenge is the sheer need in our community and land is a huge part of that. We are a coastal community that is highly populated with very little land, so that means finding new partners. We have some interesting relationships we’re building now with our faith partners to see how we can use land with them in ways that nourish the church and also allow for affordable housing. The only way we can do the work is through the blessing of partnerships, so we continue to work with our faith partners and municipalities for vacant land.” However, Robin said her greatest joy is providing hope. “I think keeping the dream of homeownership alive for working families is what keeps us going. The inspiration is how giving our community is. Whether it’s our faith community, business partners, or youth who continue to help improve the lives of others, we don’t do this alone.” How can you get involved? • Sponsor a home or partner with others to sponsor a home. $100,000 sponsors one home. • Give financially or donate land to fuel more building • Donate to or shop at the Habitat ReStore. Located at 505 W. Broward Blvd., Habitat ReStore is a home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public, with all proceeds benefiting the charity. • Volunteer onsite or in one of the many support roles to continue Habitat’s mission. Visit to learn more. e s d r t d e g r e al y h s e f r r r s n, f p t al e f e t e r h r al y d s n y y 2 s, d L-R Front: Paul Magnes, Robert Taylor, John Scherer, Matt Katz; BACK: Kelly Kolb, Linda Jones and Evan Brody