Jacksonville HBA Honored for Building Needed Homeless Shelter
Gary Garczynski, chairman of the National Housing Endowment (left); Jerry Linder, immediate past president of the Northeast Florida Builders Associaton and president of The Vintage Group; Bill Cellar, current NEFBA president and president of Providence Homes; and Bob Mitchell, founder of the Home Builders Care program and past president of NAHB, during the Home Builders Care awards ceremony at the International Builders' Show.
The Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA) of Jacksonville, Fla. was awarded the 2006 National Housing Endowment Home Builders Care Community Service Project of the Year Award — the second time the HBA has won this prestigious award — at the recent International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.
The HBA received the award, which recognizes a home builders association for outstanding community service, for its support of Trinity Rescue Mission’s new Women and Children’s Center. The center, which opened on Aug. 16, 2006, houses about 1,200 women and children annually.
NEFBA previously won the award in 2002 for its work with the elderly in the Jacksonville area.
Before the new center was built, the Jacksonville area’s 18 shelters and transitional-housing agencies operated at full capacity almost every night of the year trying to house the nearly 6,000 homeless women and children in the city and surrounding area. Not everyone could find shelter, however, and every night, at least 130 women and children were left on the streets to fend for themselves.
NEFBA’s support for Trinity’s new center began with a challenge from NEFBA’s executive director, Daniel Davis, to the members. Raise $100,000 to built the shelter, he said, and he would match it by personally raising $100,000 more.
NEFBA’s members took up the challenge in a big way. Greg Matovina, past president of NEFBA, donated his company’s land development knowledge and resources and began a telephone blitz to gather needed materials and services.
NEFBA held an old fashioned “Raise the Roof” barn-raising that drew more than 200 volunteers to work feverishly on the project.
In all, more than 40 NEFBA member groups donated about 5,600 hours of labor, more than $600,000 worth of materials and $215,000 in cash to build the Women and Children’s Center.
“This is the kind of project that really makes you step back from the day-to-day reality of the job and realize what an amazing and charitable group of people make up the home builder community,” said Davis. “We had an incredible group of volunteers, many who shunned any sort of recognition, and there was a real spirit of neighbor helping neighbor. It’s an honor to be recognized publicly for something that was so gratifying personally.”
As winner of the National Housing Endowment Home Builders Care Project of the Year, NEFBA received a $5,000 donation to be given to the charity of its choice. NEFBA members chose the Trinity Rescue Mission.
“We are pleased to award this year’s honor to a project that had a huge impact on both the community and the dedicated volunteers that were the catalyst behind its construction,” said Gary Garczynski, chairman of the board of trustees of the National Housing Endowment, the philanthropic arm of NAHB.
“While it was difficult to choose only one community service project — since we reviewed so many that were worthwhile and generous — the Northeast Florida Builders Association united its members in an effort that demonstrated a passion to address the problem of homelessness,” Garczynski said. “It’s an exemplary effort showing how home builders across the nation are committed to making a difference in their communities.”