Shirley Family to receive the keys to their new green home in time for Christmas

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Shirley FamilyThere’s a very special song being sung by the Shirley Family this holiday season: “I’ll be home for Christmas.”


On Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 4 p.m., the local Habitat affiliate will dedicate its second green home, a four-bedroom model for the Shirley Family, located at 909 Bahama Avenue in East Stuart.

“We are so grateful to our sponsors, volunteers and staff who helped make a dream come true for one very special family,” Margot Graff, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Martin County said. “Because of their support, Okeland and Sheila Shirley and their three children will enjoy Christmas in their new ‘green’ home.”


Homeowners Okeland and Sheila Shirley contributed 300sweat equity hours working on their home and the homes of others as a Habitat prerequisite. Through donations of funds, materials and volunteer labor, Habitat was able to build the home and sell it at an affordable price. The Shirley Family will purchase the home with a no-profit loan and their monthly mortgage payments will be used to build more Habitat homes.


The Shirleys and their three children – Olivia, 13, Okeria, 11 and Omarion, 4 – are thankful for all of the volunteers who have helped make their house a home. “The volunteers are so wonderful and everybody is so nice, God brought people closer together,” Sheila Shirley said. When asked about how she feels about the home-building process, she said, “We have to give credit to God.”


Some say, “It’s not easy being green” – but Habitat for Humanity of Martin County is proving otherwise.

“This Habitat project inMartin Countyproves you can build green-certified homes with little to no additional costs,” Habitat’s green consultant, Kyle Abney of Abney + Abney Green Solutions, Inc said. “Green features such as proper orientation, using light interior colors to reflect natural light, low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and adhesives, extended overhangs for shade, notinstalling a garbage disposal, using low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, and xeriscapingare all utilized in this home and can be done in any home.”


The construction of Habitat’s green homes conform to environmentally sensitive standards, meeting rating requirements by the Florida Green Building Coalition. This and the other two Habitat green homes in East Stuart are also in line to receive Florida Water Star certification from the South Florida Water Management District. Habitat will be one of the first homes in the area certified by the district and the first Habitat for Humanity home in the state to receive this designation.


This project is made possible thanks to the City of Stuart Community Redevelopment Agency, which provided a $100,000 “green initiatives” grant to help finance three green homes. Habitat is partnering with Abney + Abney Green Solutions, Inc., Braden & Braden architects and HJA Design Studio which provided consultations on the construction of this and the other Habitat green homes in East Stuart. Special thanks to the generous sponsors who also contributed to this project: Boys and Girls Club of Martin County, The Batchelor Foundation, Publix Super Markets Charities, Realtors Association of Martin County, TD Bank Charitable Foundation, Treasure Coast Community Church and Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation.


The Dec. 15 event will include a ceremonial dedication, open house and refreshments. Habitat staff and consultants will be available to answer questions about the construction, and provide information on the sustainable and environmentally friendly components throughout the home. For more information, call (772) 223-9940 or visit


About Habitat for Humanity of Martin County

Habitat for Humanity of Martin County is a not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organization that extends the opportunity to purchase simple, decent, affordable homes to local families who would not otherwise have that chance. The three key criteria necessary in order to make homeownership a reality for families include the need for shelter, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. For more information, call (772) 223-9940 or visit

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