BAY COUNTY, Fla. — In one Panama City neighborhood, the shiny reflective roofs of five Habitat for Humanity homes are still standing strong in a field of destruction.
While other homes roofs ripped off and walls crumbled, these Habitat for Humanity homes were like a fortress. The only damage all five sustained were missing shingles and siding.
"You hope the product you are building is going to last and protect them," Gaby Camacho said. Camacho is the Vice President of Construction and Procurement for Habitat for Humanity Pinellas of Pinellas County.
Camacho says they didn't have a hand in constructing the Habitat for Humanity Bay County affiliate homes. But, they know just how well they are built.
"When we design a home, we are making sure that the houses are not only sustainable for the homeowner in the long term, but also that they withstand the hurricanes and the wind in this area," Camacho said. "We go above and beyond."
Camacho said every home they build surpasses the minimum required building codes.
"We actually do embedded straps that go inside the concrete of the house and on top and over the truss," Camacho said. "So, the code calls for something along the lines of 980 pounds per square, and we build almost double with the straps we are using for our homes."
The newly built home in Largo, Florida is a concrete block home. Camacho said the homes in Panama City are wood frame. Both types of construction, Camacho said, when done the right way can hold up to severe weather.
"We were very proud," Camacho said. "I’m proud of every single house we build."
All of the sweat equity, along with extra nails, waterproof membranes in the roof and skilled labor add up to a home Camacho says a family can live in for a very long time.
"We hope that you know, all the other habitat homes will perform the same way and will stand any destruction weather will bring our way," Camacho said.