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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Development Division celebrates

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NEW PORT RICHEY - The manufactured home Hawley and Cynthia Webb lived in for about 15 years was battered by Tropical Storm Debby.

The water damage was so severe that for a time after the June 2012 storm, the couple wondered whether their home would collapse.

"My biggest fear, because of how much damage and stuff that was over at the house, was that the house was going to fall down before we even got" a new home, Cynthia Webb said.

With the help of the Pasco County Community Development Division, the couple moved into their new two-bedroom home in the Holiday Hills subdivision in Port Richey in October.

In conjunction with National Homeownership Month, members of the community and local government officials celebrated the 20th year of the Community Development Division on Tuesday from inside the garage of a new home on School Road, across from Gulf High School.

That home is one of six completed or under construction on that one block.

"We all hear every day about the stock market going up and going down and those investments, but I can tell you home ownership is the best investment that anybody can make," Commissioner Ted Schrader said. "It gives you a sense of pride, a sense of responsibility, something you can call your own. And that's what makes neighborhoods and communities what they are. It's so important for people to be able to go home every day and put that key in the door knowing that the investments they're making is not only an investment in their home, but an investment in the community."

Pasco County offers several programs to help low to moderate income people buy a home. One of the programs, New Construction Assistance Program, is funded by the federal government. The county distributes the money to help potential buyers who make less than 80 percent of the median income for the area.

To be eligible, a single person must make $31,850 or less, a two-person family must have an income of $36,400 or less and a family of three must bring in 40,950 or less.

Other programs include Home Buyer Assistance, Owner-Occupied Rehab, Neighborhood Stabilization and Housing Investment Partnership.

Tuesday's event was held next door to the home Jon Peiffer will officially purchase in July.

He lives in a Valrico apartment with his son, Derek, who just graduated from Durant High School. Peiffer commutes from Valrico to Clearwater daily and said his search has been long and tiresome.

Peiffer said he does not make quite enough to purchase a new home on his own.

Pasco's Community Development Division gave him enough help to purchase a home.

"Accomplishment," Jon Peiffer said, describing his feelings Tuesday morning. "The home search is over, and this feels like home already. It's something that we decided years ago we were going to move out of our apartment when school was over, hopefully into a house and that's been accomplished."

His son has plans to join the Navy and leaves for basic training in August.

Since its inception in 1993, the Pasco County Community Development Division has helped more than 3,300 homebuyers. Among its accomplishments, it has revitalized portions of the county, such as the Tommytown neighborhood in Dade City, and renovated Elfers School for use as a senior center.

edaniels@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1860

Twitter: @EDanielsTBO

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