FORT LAUDERDALE — Habitat for Humanity of Broward along with almost 100 sponsors, volunteers, homeowner families and friends, gathered together on Saturday, Oct. 8 to celebrate the completion of 15 homes in Rock Island Oaks, a new Habitat community.

The neighborhood of Rock Island Oaks would not have been possible without the support of the Huizenga Family Foundation, Hudson Family Foundation, Broward County Affordable Housing Program, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Their generosity, combined with the hard work of volunteers and homeowners, made Habitat’s dream of an affordable “green” community in Fort Lauderdale a reality.

“The dedication ceremony of the first 15 of 30 homes was a special day for Habitat Broward. It’s our first official ‘green’ neighborhood. Rock Island Oaks was built to meet the LEED silver certification. They are energy efficient and more affordable to maintain over time for the homeowner,” says Susan DeYoung, executive director of Habitat Broward.

The highlight of the event was the house tours after the ceremonial key presentation, as new homeowners proudly opened their doors for H. Wayne Huizenga Jr., his wife Fonda, and their four children; as well as Steve Hudson from the Hudson Family Foundation and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.

“The Huizenga family and Hudson family are excited to have been able to once again partner with Habitat for Humanity as they offer a hand up to families in need of affordable housing in our community,” said Wayne Huizenga. “The program creates incredible value by engaging families and volunteers throughout the entire process. To partner with Habitat truly means becoming part of the Habitat family.”

Like all Habitat homeowners, these families contributed a minimum of 400 hours of “sweat equity” working on the construction of their home and the homes of others, and participated in educational programs designed to strengthen the entire family and help to ensure their success as new homeowners.

The new homeowners will continue to make monthly payments on a low-cost, no-interest mortgage, which in turn will go toward building more Habitat Broward homes for families in need.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Broward contact Jessica Kersey, director of development at or 954-396-3030 ext. 211.

Photo: PROUD OWNER: Jean Gilles