Pinellas-Pasco Habitat for Humanity to increase minimum pay to $15 an hour

The increase is expected to happen in the first half of next year. CEO hopes other nonprofits follow suit.
Lilly Beth Rodriguez, left, Laura Robertson and Linda Lamont work on a Habitat for Humanity house in north Pasco. [Times (2013)]
Lilly Beth Rodriguez, left, Laura Robertson and Linda Lamont work on a Habitat for Humanity house in north Pasco. [Times (2013)]
Published September 19

CLEARWATER — Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties is raising its minimum pay to $15 an hour next year from its current $13.50 an hour.

Mike Sutton, president and CEO of the affiliate, said he hopes other local nonprofits also consider investing more in their employees. The organization, which works to build affordable housing, has 75 employees, and about 15 will be affected by the increase. Those 15 work in various sections, including retail, construction and administration.

“We want to make sure that our employees are able to keep food on the table for their family while also being able to live here in our community," he said. "It’s something we will continue to address on an annual basis as we build our budgets.”

The local Habitat for Humanity established its minimum pay to $13.50 an hour a couple weeks ago, Sutton said. It didn’t have a company minimum before then, but the Florida minimum wage is $8.46 an hour.

The nonprofit has grown in the past year in terms of employees, revenue and families served, Sutton said. That allowed it to invest in the wage increase.

Last year, the organization built 63 homes in Pinellas County and one in Pasco County. It’s on track to build 70 this year, with about 85 percent of those in Pinellas.

RELATED STORY: Habitat for Humanity organizations in Pinellas and Pasco counties merge

Since the Pinellas and Pasco Habitat for Humanity organizations merged on March 1, it’s still establishing itself in Pasco, which is why fewer homes were built there, Sutton said. Pasco likely will have the largest opportunity for growth in upcoming years, he said.

In Pinellas, the organization is figuring out how to sustain its growth and keep building homes while addressing the county’s lack of affordable land, Sutton said.

“We have to invest in the talent here, and by investing in the talent, we know we can do more,” he said.

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