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After Growing Up In 40 Foster Homes, Pinellas Woman Receives Own Home

Falana Shannon received the keys to the final home to be built in a Habitat for Humanity community in Lealman.

CLEARWATER, FL — Over the last six months, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties has worked to build 14 new homes in its latest project in the Lealman community.

This new community features families of all sizes and backgrounds. The final home dedication took place Friday when Habitat for Humanity presented Falana Shannon with the keys to her new home.

Shannon has been a youth specialist at Ready for Life Inc., a solution-based skill center supporting former foster care youth, for more than seven years.

She is the first of seven siblings in her family to become a homeowner.

For 10 years of her life, Shannon lived in 40 different foster homes, attended 12 different schools, and faced many hardships. Despite all of her difficulties, she's remained positive and motivated to reach her goals.

“I will finally break the barriers of poverty and hardships,” she said, adding that she's looking forward to permanent stability in her life and not having to worry about ever-increasing rent prices. Like many families in Lealman, Shannon experienced dramatic rent increases, with landlords who provided substandard living conditions. So far, she has had three roofs collapse on her, including one that hit her in the head.

On top of that, she has encountered mold, electrical and air-conditioning issues in her rental homes. Because of this, Shannon decided to apply to the Habitat program.

“All of the faith, consistency and hard work in the Habitat program will be worth it," she said. "It will teach me responsibility, but it will mean 'home.' I never knew what it was like to have a place called 'home.'"

Shannon said she hopes her story will inspire other young women facing similar circumstances.

"I am building because I have dreams to inspire someone just like me and to give people and myself hope for a better future," she said. “My house will be my safe place, my refuge, my place of peace and my serenity garden of love.”

Shannon encourages others to follow her example.

“Believe that the impossible is possible," she said. "Believe in yourself. Have faith, not fear. Take a chance on life, overcome all the hardships, and you will see the light and the sunshine. Be encouraged. Stay encouraged.”

Shannon's home was sponsored by TIAA Bank. This is the 11th home the bank has sponsored. In addition to receiving the keys to her new home, Shannon received gifts for her home from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Feeding Tampa Bay and Ready for Life Pinellas.

Shannon's home is part of a collaboration between Habitat for Humanity and Pinellas County through the Housing Investment Program, which seeks to address pressing housing needs and provide essential support to residents within the Lealman community.

The county assisted in the purchase of the Lealman properties through $1.5 million in subsidies approved last year.

Over the last 12 months, Habitat Pinellas and West Pasco has completed more new homes than any other affiliate in the country, earning it the ranking of No. 1-producing affiliate in the network.

Volunteers and future homeowners construct the energy-efficient homes, and homeowners then purchase the home with a zero percent interest mortgage upon completing the program.

Habitat homeowner candidates must earn no more than 30 to 80 percent of the area median income, andmust demonstrate the need for adequate shelter, the ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and a willingness to partner with Habitat to complete a homebuyer education curriculum and invest 350 to 450 “sweat equity” hours.

For information about Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, call 727-536-4755 or click here.

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Congratulations Falana

Michelle correctly nominated you as one of our Rotary Heroes this year for your accomplishments and you have gone on to prove her faith in your abilities. Enjoy your new home!

Janet Waddell (Pinellas Park Rotary Club)



Falana!!!! Congratulations!!! I am so excited for you and extremely proud of you!!! I am crying tears of joy!! I wish you many years of happiness in YOUR home!! Hugs!! Miss Cecelia



Congratulations Falana!!!! I am so proud of you! Ms. Anne💞



Congratulations!! So proud of you and what a great example you’re setting for others!

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