ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The local non-profit Pineapple Projects is providing a critical resource during the housing crisis to families that are starting over. 

What You Need To Know

  • Pineapple Projects is a non-profit organization that provides resources to families amid the housing crisis

  • Founder Ashley Cornetet said that the need for household items has grown exponentially within two years

  • Rachel Brown and her two daughters were experiencing homelessness when the organization assisted the family with a new, furnished residence

The founder, Ashley Cornetet, had a career in real estate: staging and modeling homes for open houses when she came up with the idea to give gently used furniture to those in need. 

Within two years, she says that need has grown significantly during the housing crisis.

"It's been a tremendous time for us, but we've seen our need grow," said Cornetet. 

For their latest project, Ashley and a group of volunteers had less than two hours to makeover a Largo residence for the Brown family, who were homeless and are starting over with nothing. 

"It is heartbreaking to meet these families and hear their stories and know that they are in a really hopeless situation," she said.

Ashley wanted to put her interior design experience to good use. 

Using donated furniture, Ashley has been helping families in need create a home they can be proud of. 

Since moving, Rachel Brown and her two daughters have been sleeping on mattresses on the floor. 

Tears of joy filled her eyes when she finally saw her new home fully furnished. 

"This is everything," Brown said.

Brown said they've been trying to get back on their feet since leaving an apartment that was neglected. She says at times, they had no hot water. 

"Seeing my kids go through it that made me feel like I have to do something to get us out of this situation," Brown said. 

Ashley says Brown's story is an example and sign of the times during the housing crisis when residents are forced to pick between paying for a roof over their heads and furniture.

Her non-profit helps families achieve both. 

"It leaves room for the community to really love on these people and give them their dignity back. It's truly going to impact their life so that they can go out and do great things," said Ashley. 

For the Brown family, that will start with a good night's rest in their own beds. 

120 families have benefited from the Pineapple Projects program so far.