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Habitat, Warrick Dunn Charities and others help single mom achieve her dream

Margie Manning

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Former NFL star Warrick Dunn presented a single mom and her two daughters with the keys to a new home in Pinellas Park Tuesday. (All photos provided by Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties.)

Amanda Pedigo invested 400 hours of sweat equity and attended more 20 home-buyer classes in preparation for getting her own home.

The work paid off Tuesday, when Pedigo got the keys to a new home in Pinellas Park, built through a partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, Warrick Dunn Charities, MarineMax and Aaron’s.

It’s the 685th home that the local Habitat has built in the community, said Mike Sutton, president and CEO. The Pinellas/West Pasco affiliate built 61 homes in 2020 and is on pace to do 65 homes this year, he said.

The organization is one of several working to address housing issues, a key concern in Pinellas County where rising prices and a scarcity of vacant land have priced many potential homeowners out of the market.

Pedigo is a single mom who has overcome homelessness and survived domestic violence. She works in medical administration and she and her two daughters were living in an apartment in a neighborhood where crime prevented the children from playing outside, according to Habitat.

“This home will change our lives in a major way,” Pedigo said during a celebration of her new home. “My kids have a neighborhood to play in, meet friends and be kids. I have a home to pass down to my family and knowing the money I pay monthly is going toward home ownership makes me feel more at ease and life feels more stable.”

Stability is important, said Warrick Dunn, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back who founded Warrick Dunn Charities, a nonprofit organization that identifies single parents across the country and helps them achieve their goal of first-time homeownership. The program, “Home for the Holidays,” is a legacy for Betty Smothers, Dunn’s mother, he told Atlanta magazine in 2019.

“Over the years I have always tried to express (the importance of) having a stable environment, a stable foundation,” Dunn said during the celebration. “Today I’m excited to share that experience with you, Amanda. … Now you have the opportunity to put your kids in a stable environment. I think we realize across the country the need for housing to support each other is important.”

Pedigo’s home was the 190th home for Warrick Dunn Charities, which also provided a $5,000 down payment assistance check, with assistance from Ryan Jumeville and Cigna. The Habitat Home Ownership program provided a zero percent interest mortgage. MarineMax (NYSE: HZO), a Clearwater-based boat and yacht retailer, was the community sponsor for the home. Aaron’s, a lease-to-own retailer, provided $10,000 in furnishings.

The home is in Tellor Estates in Pinellas Park. As of June, Habitat has completed 27 new home builds in the subdivision, which will have 75 safe and affordable Habitat homes when buildout is complete.

Habitat for Humanity, Dunn, MarineMax, Aaron's partner on Pinellas Park home

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Warrick Dunn introduced himself to Amanda Pedigo.

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