The keys to the second of two houses built by Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County in Gulfport this year were formally handed over to its new owner on Wednesday, December 13 in a ceremony attended by several dozen well-wishers, including Habitat executives and volunteers and city officials.
“Diamond, we’re happy to have you in the neighborhood,” Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson told homebuyer Diamond Mangum shortly after giving her the keys to the three-bedroom, two-bath home at 4925 14th Ave. S., along with a key to the city.
Mangum, a single mother of two who moved to Florida from Chicago, told those assembled she was at a loss for words and thanked all the volunteers for their many hours of hard work. She is slated to finalize the purchase of the house on Wednesday, December 20 and move in shortly after with her two sons, Trevion Sykes, 13, and Dae’jon Mangun, 5.
During the ceremony the family was presented with a number of gifts, including a hammer, a Bible and hand-crafted eating bowls, and the home was blessed by their church pastor and anointed with special oils.
Afterwards Mangum and the boys led those assembled into the house, oohing and aahing at the final finishes and books and other gifts spread out on the kitchen counter.
“It’s a little bit overwhelming,” Mangum said, adding, “I’m just happy, I’m excited, overjoyed.”
Mike Sutton, head of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, noted during the ceremony that other Habitat clients were looking forward to moving to Gulfport and asked city officials to keep an eye out for land that might be suitable for their houses. The group completed its first house in Gulfport, at 5002 9th Avenue S., about six months ago.
Director of Volunteer Services Jack Shanks said the Mangum house took eight weeks to build, including 600 hours of work contributed by volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County provides affordable housing to low-income homebuyers who must take homeowner’s education classes and help build the houses in order to qualify. It built a total of 59 houses in Pinellas County in 2017.