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Pasco County veteran waits weeks to get into Habitat for Humanity home

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 17, 2019

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A Pasco County veteran has waited more than six weeks to move into a home that was dedicated to him in April.

ABC Action News was at a Habitat for Humanity dedication April 29 for Forest Spall. Spall received the home on Leisure Lane interest free in West Pasco as part of a new plan to revitalize the rundown neighborhood.

“You basically put someone homeless for six weeks, it’s not a fun feeling to go through,” he said.

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Spall said he’s not sure who to blame, but tells ABC Action News he feels there was miscommunication between the charity and the county, and it has impacted him.

Habitat for Humanity has put Spall in a hotel for the past six weeks while he waits for final inspections to be done. He said he does not have a formal address, meaning he falls under the standards to be considered homeless.

“It’s like living like a gypsy, and I didn’t want to move into a house to live like a gypsy,” he said.

The confusion started weeks ago after he was told that he failed a final inspection from the county for several different things, which isn't uncommon.

Spall said he was told that his AC unit needed to be moved, that the stairs to his home were too far out, a wheelchair ramp was not properly permitted and more.

Hours after our call to Pasco County, Spall said he was granted a temporary certificate of occupancy. But despite being given the temporary certificate, Spall says he was told he'll have to wait until closing to move in.

However, the county claims that this was also offered back in May, but was rejected.

ABC Action News spoke with President Mike Sutton for Habitat for Humanity about the claims, and he said this is the first he’s heard of it.

Sutton said the Pinellas chapter for Habitat for Humanity recently merged with the West Pasco County chapter and this is the new leadership’s first time working on a home in Pasco.

The leadership team for West Pasco originally started on the project.

Sutton said six weeks to get someone into their home is unacceptable under their standards.

He wrote in a statement:

“At Habitat for Humanity, we value our relationship with all municipalities in which we build.  We also appreciate, enormously, the efforts of the Pasco County Building Department in following protocol and inspections.  However, we look forward to improving communication between our respective organizations so that all instructions and expectations are clear and concise.  At the end of the day, our goal is to build more affordable housing options within our service area.” 

Spall, a former Army veteran, said he feels blessed to be given this opportunity but didn’t think the process would be this frustrating.

Habitat for Humanity plans to build several other new homes in the same area.