NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — A nonprofit is changing the perspective on affordable housing in West Pasco County.

What You Need To Know

  • Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties is setting pace for homes built this year

  • Organization is on pace to have built 73 homes this year alone, making them the top-producing Habitat affiliate in the country

  • More homes are on the way with a 5-acre, 25-home project planned off Little Road

Habitat for Humanity has been around for years building homes for families who need them. One of the ways they are able to build is through proceeds from their Habitat ReStores.

The store in New Port Richey is making great strides on pace to have helped build 73 homes this year, making them the top-producing Habitat affiliate in the country.

“If we want to continue to experience all that Florida has to offer, we need places for the working class to be able to live,” said Mike Sutton, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco County. “We’re seeing a lot of people priced out of our region, priced out of our state, so Habitat is just one of the organizations that’s trying to combat that.”

A spokesperson with the nonprofit says a 5-acre, 25-home project is planned just off Little Road. There will also be new homes going up near the new VA Bay Pines Health Care Clinic. Helping plenty of Bay Area families in need.

“It was shock, joy, disbelief - probably all three of those.”

For Gregory Collins, the idea of calling a house his own is still fresh in his mind. The father of three could only dream of one day providing for his family.

“I didn’t think we were going to get through,” he said.

But that dream is being made possible through Habitat for Humanity.

“I met some of the people that had been in it and met it and we felt, personally, that there were so many more people more needing than us,” said Collins.

Collins now stands at the site of his future home, a plot picked out by him and his wife. Getting to this point, though, was anything but easy for them.

“It’s been a huge blessing for us and it’s taught us a lot because of different adversities we’ve had through challenges with the property,” he said. “But we’ve come out stronger because of it and we’re really appreciative of it.”

After being selected as a Habitat homeowner, the next step involves something the nonprofit calls ‘sweat equity,’ or helping build homes for other Habitat homeowners.

“That’s one of the things I look forward to going out to the sites, is just talking to the other homeowners and volunteers from different sponsors that come,” said Collins. “Just hanging out, chopping it up with them and what their life journey is - what brought them here.”

The journey hasn’t been easy for the Collins family, but within the next six months, their new house will be ready. 

That’s a day Collins has been looking forward to for quite some time.

“I promised my wife when I married her that I would never let her go through trouble in our situation with our kids,” he said. “That’s one of the things that gives me so much joy, is knowing at the end of the process, they’re going to have a home that’s well built, it’s sturdy, it’s new, it’s going to stand up and we get a nice backyard.”

It’s a joyous feeling that he hopes other families can one day experience.