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Family gets keys to local Habitat’s first ‘green’ home

NORTH MANATEE — There will be no more packing boxes and moving for Rebecca Evans and her four children.

The Evans family was one of four to receive keys Sunday to new homes they helped build through the Manatee County Habitat for Humanity program.

“This is really important to me and my children,” Evans said, as more than 50 people crowded into her new home on 30th Street East to help her celebrate with cake and soft drinks. “We were tired of renting.”

The certified nursing assistant for Tidewell Hospice and Palliative Care received an extra bonus because her home is the first “green” home built by the local Habitat for Humanity organization.

“It’s great,” Evans said, “knowing I’ll be saving on my energy bills.”

She will be moving into the four-bedroom, two-bath home with her three daughters, Johntrice, 15, Daviesha, 13, and Davreuna, 7, and her son, Dayvieuntae, 10.

The method of construction for the house was different than what Habitat for Humanity has used in the past.

It is an insulating concrete-form wall system, where plastic foam forms about 5 foot long and 1 foot tall are stacked on top of each other like Legos to create the outside walls of the home.

Concrete is poured between the two plastic foam walls, which not only provides strength, but offers extra insulation against the Florida heat, reducing air-conditioning costs.

Dennis Seevers, a sales representative with the insulating concrete form distributor, Fox Blocks, of Palm Harbor, said this construction method is cheaper than a conventional lumber home.

“A wood-frame home built with 2x4’s and insulated would provide about a R-19 (insulating value) rating,” Seevers said. “This home will have a R-35.”

The concrete walls also provide a three-hour fire wall, he said.

The board of directors of Manatee Habitat has decided to make the insulated concrete form or IFC system the preferred construction method for future homes.

“We wanted to do it because it’s good for the environment,” said board president Mike Kennedy.

The other three families who received keys to new homes Sunday were just as excited as Evans.

They will be joining other families in the 12-home Habitat project along Second Avenue West, north of 25th Street West in the Washington Park neighborhood.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Norma Olvera, who will be moving into one of the homes with her youngest of three children, Daniel, 18. Her other two children, Stephanie, who is serving in the Navy, and Robert, are married and have families of their own.

Olvera said she and her husband, who died in a car accident in 2003, always wanted a home, but it was hard because they were farmworkers. She now works at Macy’s in the merchandising department.

Traci Tobias will live in her new home with her three children, Tierney, 18, Tiana, 16, and Antonio, 12.

“This means the world to me,” said Tobias, who works as a certified medical assistant at Bradenton Cardiology Center. “We don’t have to move anymore.”

She said one of the last places she rented went into foreclosure and she had to quickly find another home.

Anocia Dormevil and her four children, Claud, 14, Maxon, 13, Merlande, 12, and Whitney, 3, also were tired of renting.

Then they heard about the Habitat program, and as Dormevil said, it was dream come true.