Saturday, January 22, 2022

Habitat For Humanity CEO Presents to DWC

Lisa Lefkow, Jane Schlechtweg, Lauri Shafer and Steph Ballo with donations. | Submitted Photos

The Democratic Women’s Club of Marco met recently and recognized volunteers and discussed election results. Guest speakers included Lisa Lefkow, CEO of the Collier County Habitat for Humanity and Patricia Farley, President of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida.

Candidate Sara McFadden thanked all who helped in her campaign and was upbeat about running again in the near future. Ms. McFadden presented her unused campaign funds to the women’s club.

Karen Tessel-Blum summarized the Democratic wins in this election: 372 state legislature seats flipped, seven governorships changed, Florida Amendment #4 passed, three state supreme court seats flipped, three “red” states expanded Medicaid, two states raised the minimum wage, two senate seats flipped, and seven seats in the Florida House changed party.

Speaker Lisa Lefkow, CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Collier County, maintained that, “There is no more critical issue in our community than access to housing that is affordable.”

Ms. Lefkow stressed that Habitat houses build strength, stability, self-reliance, as well as shelter for those who work hard for low wages. The average home in Collier County is $330,000. A Habitat house can be constructed for around $135,000, and the loan is interest-free. The average rental of a house in Collier County is $1,500/month, way beyond the means of many hard-working people. Families who qualify for Habitat houses pay at most $750/month for their mortgage, escrow deposit and insurance, and they own their home outright when they pay off the entire mortgage.

Ms. Lefkow explained the process by which a family can buy a Habitat home in Collier County. Ten to 12 applications are approved monthly, which comes to 100 houses built and occupied each year for the past 16 years!

Finally, Ms. Lefkow stressed that all money donated to Habitat goes directly into home building. On Charity Navigator, Habitat for Humanity has had the top rating of four stars, and a perfect score. Only 1% of charities receive that rating!

Ms. Lefkow urged participants to volunteer to help build homes in Dockside on Henderson Creek Drive where Habitat hopes to build 44 homes this year. Monetary donations are appreciated, and one can also help by volunteering and buying goods at the two Habitat stores in Naples. On Marco, donations to the Bargain Basket often go to new Habitat families.

Next, Democratic Women of Florida (DWCF) President Patricia Farley spoke about the DWCs all over the country since the 1950s. The DWCF serves as the Women’s Caucus for Florida Democrats. They endorsed 90 candidates, made contributions, and educate communities. Members are trained to meet with legislators in order to discuss important issues up for legislation. Ms. Farley touched on the fact that women still don’t have equal rights, something that the DWCF is trying to remedy.

Stephanie Ballo stated that the postcard campaign and the Coastal Breeze ads have recruited new members and created awareness of the group. She announced that the DWCM will hold a Holiday Social on December 14th, place and time to be determined. In addition, each month the club holds Happy Hours and Breakfast Socials.

Collier County Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards will speak at the next meeting on December 11th. Members are asked to bring in household items for donation to Habitat for Humanity.

The DWCMarco meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 5 PM. The December meeting will take place at Mackle Park Community Center. Beginning in January 2019, meetings resume in Rose Hall at the Marco Library.

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