University of North Florida, Habitat for Humanity Join to Build Homes in Historic New Town
By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor
The University of North Florida joined with Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville to build a home in the historic New Town neighborhood. Building of the ranch-style model home at 1819 West 5th Street was supervised by UNF’s College of Computing, Engineering and Construction students.
Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville is known as one of the most successful Habitat for Humanity affiliates in U.S. and the largest non-profit affordable housing provider in Duval County. It has provided homeownership opportunities and other housing services to more than 1,900 families since its inception in 1988. As an advocate for affordable housing and fair housing policies, HabiJax organizes workshops and other trainings on a regular basis in the interest of helping families improve their housing conditions. Its homeownership services include Critical Home Repair, A Brush with Kindness, Weatherization, Rehabilitation and Housing Counseling.
A team of students was responsible for construction management, bidding out the work, scheduling vendors and contractors as well as performing the final inspection. The project was led by HabiJax construction superintendent Mark Riccaboni, President of Construction Specialties of North Florida David Hacker and a graduate of the UNF Construction Management program. “Our students enjoyed every minute of building a home and look forward to hopefully one day meeting the family that gets to call the house home,” Hacker told the press, adding that he is honored to have the opportunity to work with HabiJax’s team.
HabiJax launched a capital campaign to raise $16 million, contributing to the construction of at least 100 new homes in the neighborhood by 2016. Further efforts to revitalize New Town include offering future homeowners an interest-free mortgage.
Illustration courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville via Facebook