Facing a crisis, In the Pines is determined to raise funds to replace roofs, obtain building insurance and continue its mission to provide resources and programs for Palm Beach County families to stay in a home in a safe environment.
The nonprofit organization provides affordable housing opportunities for up to 70 workforce families with a North site on Hagen Ranch Road in Boynton Beach and South location on Half Mile Road in Delray Beach.
The South complex, which consists of 40 units and six buildings, is in jeopardy because of deteriorating roofs. After receiving grants and donations to replace two building roofs earlier this year, In the Pines estimates it still needs to raise $200,000 to replace roofs at four other buildings. The roofs are over 20 years old, show wear and tear and have been affected with stains and leaks. As estimated repairs and insurance premiums continue to rise, the nonprofit organization is in dire need of assistance from the community. If necessary repairs can’t be completed to receive building insurance, the South location will potentially be shut down by the end of the year with tenants forced to leave their units.
“The roofs are pretty old and we need to get all the roofs done,” said In the Pines property manager Marimer Marquez. “If we do not replace the roofs within this year, we have the risk of not being insured. The property needs a lot of love so we can keep serving these families.
“Most of the tenants work in agriculture and have lower incomes. It will be very difficult for them to find another place to live and to afford rent. Our mission is to provide affordable housing for migrants and farm workers. We do not want the families to not have a safe place to go home. This has been their home for a very long time.”
According to Marquez, the process to receive permits through the county and replace a roof can take two months. As hurricane season approaches and the looming deadline to have all the buildings at the complex insured by the end of the year, the nonprofit organization is at a critical juncture and searching for assistance.
“We need to get it done as soon as possible and do not have the funds,” she said. “The quotes from the vendors for the roofs keep going up. We already pay higher insurance because of the condition of the roofs. We need to have everything done by December. All the structures will have to pass insurance. It’s all or nothing. We need a combination of grants and donations.”
Marquez also said they will need new air-conditioning units after the roofs are replaced and the kitchen cabinets inside the units also need to be remodeled — all projects that require financial assistance.
In the Pines board member Elizabeth Rivera said the nonprofit is in need of donations from foundations and individuals.
“I am very passionate about helping the community,” she said. “We have a lot of farmers and Latinos in need of help. We want to prepare them and show them the American way. The mission of In the Pines goes above and beyond just housing. It’s also enabling the individuals to be a part of a great society and to open the door to do amazing things. We need the community to help them so they can stay here and have opportunities with the programs provided to them.”
Rivera said In the Pines provides family education programs to help integrate workforce families into society. The Building a Better Life program helps educate adults and children to develop knowledge and skills. It helps individuals to become proficient with the English language, learn computer skills, gain financial literacy, and learn to read and write. After-school programs, tutoring and lessons for children with books and a computer lab also are provided. In the Pines provides additional resources, including hosting an immigration lawyer to assist families with any concerns.
“The Building a Better Life program is absolutely amazing because it really gives them the resources to be productive and face the roadblocks that they encounter as immigrants in this country,” she said. “They can gain the necessary tools and education that they need. They can achieve more and become property owners and then help other families on that path.”
Maquez said programs have also allowed teens to continue their academic success in college.
“We have parents who do not have college degrees and do not speak the language,” she said. “It’s nice because most of their kids speak English. The kids have been able to get into college to get a degree while working at the same time to help their parents.”
In the Pines hosts monthly events at its two locations to bring adults and children together, including Earth Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day activities. The nonprofit also has holiday gatherings on Christmas and Easter, as well as health classes and Zumba sessions.
Rivera praised the effort made by Marquez to assist families and improve their way of life.
“It’s all about family,” Rivera said. “It’s amazing how they help one another. The kids are super helpful and support their parents. [Marimer] is phenomenal and will go above and beyond. She shows compassion to the families.”
In the Pines, which was first established in 1978, consists of 40 units ranging from one to three bedrooms at its South location and 30 units ranging from two to three bedrooms at its North site. Their rent is determined as a percentage of a family’s certified income.