Habitat for Humanity, UF/IFAS Extension program work together for new homeowners
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As they prepare to be new homeowners with help from Habitat for Humanity, program candidates learn home maintenance, how to save energy and how to get along better with home occupants through the Homeflow program, offered by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
A second Homeflow class will be offered starting Dec. 8, through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Jacksonville.
Known as HabiJax, the Jacksonville program is one of the largest in the U.S., having built more than 2,000 homes in the past 28 years, said Randy Cantrell, a UF/IFAS Extension housing and community development specialist. Qualified homebuyers complete educational workshops and hours of “sweat equity” – volunteer hours alongside community volunteers – to help build their own homes and upon completion, purchase their home with an affordable mortgage payment.
With Homeflow, a statewide program, UF/IFAS Extension faculty teach homeowners not only how to maintain and upgrade their homes to help them lower their utility bills, but also to communicate better among those living under the same roof. As described by its co-developers: “Homeflow is about how the home ‘flows’ together as a unit, starting with communications between occupants and progressing to specific steps that can help your home function smoothly and efficiently.”
Cantrell, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS family, youth and community sciences department, co-developed the Homeflow program with Victor Harris, another assistant professor in the department, and Sarah Ellis, a UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County agent. The partnership debuted during the summer of 2016 –taught by UF/IFAS Duval County Extension agents, Melanie Thomas and Stephanie Toelle — and showed improved knowledge in multiple measures of energy efficiency and domestic tranquility, Cantrell said.
Homeflow will soon have about 60 graduates statewide – with programs in Duval, Osceola, and Leon counties, he said.
Caption: A new class of Homeflow will start Dec. 8 in Jacksonville at HabiJax, the Habitat for Humanity program in Jacksonville. Randy Cantrell, second from right in the above photo, co-developed the Homeflow program, in which participants learn how to get along while living together and learn how to make energy upgrades to their homes. Cantrell is a UF/IFAS assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences and a UF/IFAS Extension housing and community development specialist.
Credit: Courtesy, Randy Cantrell.
By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, email@example.com
Source: Randy Cantrell, 352-273-3554, firstname.lastname@example.org