Whitmore accepts new role with Help to Home

Carol Whitmore - Submitted

MANATEE COUNTY – Holmes Beach resident and former Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore is the new development administrator for Help to Home, Inc.

The non-profit organization seeks to provide low-rent housing and other assistance to parents and children threatened by homelessness.

“I am honored that Help to Home has chosen me for this worthy cause,” Whitmore said in a press release the nonprofit issued on Dec. 31.

“My goal in life is to make a positive difference in people’s lives and this position will help me do just that. I’ve been going around meeting with Goodwill and other organizations,” she said of her new part-time paid position.

The press release notes Whitmore helped low-income family members find jobs and obtain vocational assistance during her 16 years as a county commissioner.

Help to Home has purchased land on 30th Avenue, just west of 14th Street West in Bradenton, and plans to build Hope Village – a community of housing units with below-market rental rates.

“It is an unusual program because it requires each tenant to work with case managers, the local school system and community services to get vocational ‘up-skilling’ to stop the generational cycle of homelessness,” the press release states.

Help to Home board member Steve Wilson said, “As our development administrator, Carol Whitmore offers vast knowledge, great experience and many talents to help us reach our goals. Her understanding of homelessness and the impact it has on the entire family make her the best possible choice to ensure that Hope Village becomes a reality in 2023.”

Help to Home’s fundraising efforts will focus on private donations rather than government funding.

“The absence of government funds will avoid any restrictions on how it helps its tenants get better jobs and become financially independent. It also is not borrowing any money. Hope Village will be economically sustainable when fully built out and occupied, even at below-market rental rates,” Wilson said.

Whitmore said former Anna Maria resident Bob Carter had been assisting Help to Home with its fundraising efforts and he suggested they talk to her.

“I have to thank Bob Carter and I knew Steve Wilson from my time as a county commissioner. We just got approved for 53 units and we’re working hard on it,” she said.

Help To Home also recently added Jerry Marlar, Mike McCoy, Margie Genter and Matt McSwain to the board that already included Rod Urban, April Childers, Bill Hawthorne and Archie Smith.