Keys Habitat Group Could Find Itself Without A Home

Oct 24, 2016

The nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity is known for helping people fix up their property. But one South Florida branch is now facing its own problems with a fixer-upper.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on Big Pine Key is a 6,000-foot showroom with everything from sofas to chandeliers – at very reasonable prices. 

"It’s mostly household goods, so furniture, artwork, decorative items," said Tom Greenwood, the store's manager. "Collectible things – we get the whole gamut like you would probably expect from a good thrift store.

Tom Greenwood is the manager for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Big Pine Key. He's created a display out of all the items the store has received that are no longer made in America.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The store’s proceeds provide a third of the operating budget for Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys, about $200,000 a year, Greenwood said. The group helps fix up older homes and provide affordable housing — an acute need in the Keys.

But now the store itself may need a new home. The county-owned building has serious problems and the county has notified the group it must leave by the end of its lease in January.

Habitat is looking for a way to get a loan on the building to fix it up.

"We’re also shopping for other locations, which is difficult in this part of the world because it’s expensive," Greenwood said. "To try to find an affordable house – which is what we do in the first place – try to find an affordable commercial building. That’s even more daunting."

Habitat and its landlords – the county government – are still looking for a way that the store can stay at its home on Big Pine Key.