Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County CEO Barbara Inman has been picked to lead a state organization that will work to provide affordable housing in all 58 Habitat affiliates in Florida. And she'll be doing it from right here in Clearwater.
Habitat Florida already builds more homes than in any other state in the country, and this new program will help even more to serve low-income families.
Patch caught up with Inman for a Q&A about her new role:
Patch: You’ve worked for two
Florida affiliates in Lee County and Pinellas County, why Clearwater for the
base of this organization?
Barbara Inman: "It could’ve been several different places it was either going to be Tampa Bay, Orlando or Tallahassee and that was going to depend on who they hired. They selected me for the position and so Tampa Bay is it. I can get pretty much anywhere from the Tampa Bay Area, easy access to I-4 and I-75, the Veterans Expressway goes far north and close to U.S. 19.
Patch: How will your role as
CEO aid you in leading Habitat’s state organization?
Inman: "I’ve been working for Habitat for Humanity for 20 years and so I have extensive Habitat affiliate experience, or you could call it field experience. To be able to serve the 58 affiliates in the state of Florida, it’s really good to have that affiliate experience so that I can be of most help to what Habitat for Humanity needs to serve the entire population of the state of Florida for affordable housing."
Patch: How great is the need for affordable housing in the state of Florida?
Inman: "There is still a great need for affordably housing in the state of Florida despite the fact that we have somewhat lower property values than before, they’re catching up. We’re climbing out of those lower property values, but there are still so many people that live at or below the property level, and so for us to be able to provide affordable housing for families that either eliminates their dependence on other state programs but also stabilizes that family so that they never have housing issues in the future."
Patch: How specifically does it work to set up affordable housing for a family?
Inman: "Just for an example, what Pinellas Habitat for Humanity does is we provide a 0 percent mortgage for them to own a house. In Pinellas County it costs about $1,100 in fair market rent to rent a three-bedroom apartment, and to buy a Habitat for Humanity home you’re talking between $600 and $700 a month, including their insurance and taxes. What we’re trying to do is solve the affordable housing needs of families throughout the state on a permanent basis."
Patch: How do you plan to advocate and educate others on affordable housing?
Inman: "I do that through working with legislators in the state by meeting with them, communicating with them, communicating with our affiliates and asking them to meet with their local delegation and discuss the issues that are important to us. So advocacy, education, coordination of resources and also, should Florida be hit with a natural disaster, coordination of disaster recovery."