People and Companies

Social Entrepreneur: Habitat for Humanity

Butler’s Preserve Bringing Vision to Life

It all started with a dream. Mable Butler, the first African-American woman to hold an elected office in Orlando as District 6 City Commissioner in 1984, was a social worker before she began a career in politics, fighting for the rights of minorities and women. During her time as a county commissioner, she approached Florida Memorial College about cleaning up their blighted property in an effort to turn it into land for affordable housing.

In 1995, the property was sold to the County, and since then, the land has gone through three developers. After 14 years, Butler’s dream is coming to life with the upcoming Butler’s Reserve development, sitting on that same 38 acres of land.


Community Partnerships

Through a partnership with Orange County and the City of Orlando, the 59-home development is being built in the Malibu Groves community of Orlando through Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando. Site work is underway and the development will consist of 51 single-family homes and four duplex units.

It costs $100,000 to build a home, and those funds are donated directly by the local community. Without those partners, Butler’s Preserve would not be possible. The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation donated money for sidewalks and utility lines; there are five builders that have partnered to build the homes; and the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) has partnered and donated funds to help make the homes energy efficient. There are also partnerships with Orange County and the City of Orlando to provide homeowners with down payment assistance.

“We have a great base of support from local companies and individuals in Orlando. Without their support we would not be able to build both due to a lack of funding and a lack of volunteers,” said Jennifer Gallagher, director of community outreach at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando.


Beyond the Home

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando builds and rehabs approximately 15 to 20 homes per year, helping to preserve existing affordable housing through painting and repair programs. Stable homeownership has been proven to not only impact the family but the entire community. In fact, for every $1 donated to Habitat, it has been shown to generate $1.50 for the economy.

“Children of Habitat homeowners do better in school than before moving into their homes,” Gallagher said. “When a homeowner is not worried about how they are going to pay high rent and put food on the table, they do better at work. Reduced family stress allows families to be more active in their communities.”


Butler’s Preserve Fact Sheet

Number of Acres: 38
Number of Homes: 59
Cost: $8-10 million
Home Square Footage: 930-1,510
Groundbreaking: 2014
Completion: 2018
Average Family Earnings: 25{bfd614f294d07c51b84c8dad33a56885001f0ed7300088ac66752d3246377d5a} – 60{bfd614f294d07c51b84c8dad33a56885001f0ed7300088ac66752d3246377d5a} of median income in Metro Orlando

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