It was a big year for Builders Care

Justin Brown, executive director of NEFBA’s charitable arm, looks back at 2017.
Executive Director, Builders Care
Builders Care exists solely due to the generous support of our NEFBA community. The willingness of so many who give their time, money and resources astounds me. We are ever grateful for this opportunity to serve our area’s most vulnerable.

We see a lot of leaking roofs and Builders Care allocates most of our resources to repair roofs.

In 2017 we repaired 39 roofs. We assisted with three full re-roofing projects. Wind and rain (and hurricanes) and delayed maintenance and neglect are the primary causes.

Accessibility for disabled individuals is another major unmet need in our community. The city has a waiting list of more than a year for assistance. Whether it is access to a shower, the bathroom or outside, the gift of accessibility is wonderful to provide.

In 2017, Builders Care provided 10 families with wheelchair ramps, assisted five families with handicap accessibility rehabs and two disabled homeowners with major flooring repairs.

The Providence Homes’ donation from their Home from the Heart project allowed Builders Care to complete about 30 percent more jobs than in 2016.

Builders Care handled five critical plumbing issues and four projects securing the home. Builders Care helped two families with required home repairs to keep their homeowners insurance from being canceled.

Emergencies and outreach

Also in 2017, Builders Care was able to help two families with home fire restoration projects and handled one major electrical emergency.

Because of the imminent fire hazard, JEA allowed one homeowner 10 days to get the wiring fixed or electrical service would be discontinued, which would have meant loss of income for someone who works from home.

Builders Care’s mission includes helping other nonprofits with kindred missions. Among those we partnered with last year were the Church of Eleven22; the Southside Keller Williams office for its National Red Day; the Independent Living Resource Center; Her Song, dedicated to caring for victims of human trafficking: and Design from the HeART.

Last year, we helped 92 families and five nonprofits. Of the 92 families, six were the victims of contractor fraud.

It is an honor to be a part of an organization that plays such a critical role in our community.

People often ask how can a construction company be not for profit? The answer is the Northeast Florida Builders Association and the enormous hearts of so many of its members.

Thank you to everyone who helps Builders Care — past present and future.
To learn more about Builders Care, projects to help the community and a complete list of Caring Members donors visit, or call Justin Brown at 727-3443.


NEFBA’s new president wants to grow group’s membership

Sean Junker also hopes organization’s other programs benefit as a result of a growth in membership.

Now that the Northeast Florida Builders Association is in its new headquarters, the organization’s 2019 president wants to thank those who made its construction possible by giving back to the community.

Sean Junker, 47, said he would like to help more people by expanding NEFBA’s charitable projects like Builders Care, which provides free housing repair services for needy residents in the region.

Several weeks ago, for example, the group and a few dozen volunteers built a wheelchair ramp and painted the house of a Korean War veteran who suffered a stroke.

“I want us to be able to do more things like that,” Junker said from his Providence Homes office in Southpoint, where he has worked since 2001 and served as president since 2006.

Junker also would like to expand the organization’s membership and see more people enroll in the Apprenticeship Program to combat the regional labor shortage.

As the leader of a local homebuilding company, Junker has witnessed firsthand the toll of a lack of qualified trades workers, which he said often results in project delays.

Many years before he moved to Jacksonville, a college professor convinced Junker that he should study building construction.

Before that, his initial desire was to become an architect, even though no one in Junker’s family was remotely tied to the industry. In fact, both his grandfather and father were church pastors.

However, Junker said he was intrigued with the construction business when his father took the family to help build Habitat for Humanity homes. Soon, Junker worked during the summer while in high school as a roofer, framer and truss builder.

He and his family moved several times, living in Minnesota, Maine and several parts of Florida.

After high school, Junker earned an associate degree at Indian River State College and then transferred to the University of Florida, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree.

Junker said most of his classmates went into commercial construction but that he was interested in the residential side. His first job at the age of 24 was with K. Hovnanian in Port St. Lucie.

In 1998, he moved from Port St. Lucie to Jacksonville after being hired by Taylor Woodrow, which later merged with Morrison Homes and was renamed Taylor Morrison.

In 2001, the owner of Providence Homes, Bill Cellar, hired Junker as vice president of operations.

He was promoted to president five years later, right before the housing market crashed. Junker said he learned more during that “tough” experience than he could in any classroom.

“The most difficult times is when you grow as a person the most,” he said.

Junker, who has been on NEFBA’s board of directors since 2007, said he is honored to take on the role of president.

He said the “heavy lifting” already has been done. The group’s new building was recently completed and he said the “amazing” staff and leadership at NEFBA are doing a great job.


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Sulzbacher Village plants more than new Family Garden

Sulzbacher Village children can experience the wonder of horticulture with Thursday’s opening of the Family Garden as part of the Crawford Early Learning Center.

Nearly a year ago, Sulzbacher opened the village at 5455 Springfield Blvd. to help single women and those with families move forward by providing them with permanent, supportive housing outside the downtown Jacksonville core. One of the on-site resources available is the Crawford Early Learning Center, a partnership with the Toni and Andy Crawford Family Foundation and the Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida.

An integral component of the center provides behavioral health services to help children dealing with trauma resulting from homelessness, domestic violence and other situations that can permanently scar them if left unaddressed.

“The garden is a place where each child has something they can call their own,” said Christine Stephens, director of the early learning center. “They decide what they want to plant and each has their own set of gardening tools to help them tend their crops.”

Parents also are encouraged to share with their children in a garden experience free from stress and other social-emotional factors that have affected them. Stephens said when it’s time to harvest their bounty, the children can bring home the food they’ve grown for the whole family.

The first crops planted in the garden at the end of March included mint, kale, lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant and a variety of herbs and flowers.

In addition to learning first-hand experiences with nature, the children can marvel at the process of growing food from seeds and having that responsibility. Organizers said the garden also offers problem-solving, building science and math background knowledge, categorizing skills, learning to work together and fostering friendships and relationships.

“Toni Crawford and FIE have been incredible partners,” said Cindy Funkhouser, Sulzbacher president and CEO. “But several others also helped get our Family Garden up and running. Builder’s Care donated their labor and built all of the raised beds and fences. Berry Good Farms is providing all of our seedlings and starter plants and herbs at a discounted price. … They are working with our pre-school children and teaching them how to take care of the garden properly.”


Veteran, victim of contractor fraud, gets newly renovated home

Local volunteers made a dream a reality for an 88-year old veteran.
Roosevelt Royals said roofing contractors stole thousands from him without completing a roof job.
Hurricanes Irma and Matthew made a bad roof job worse.Royals spent most of June with his family in Orlando.
He didn’t know an entire home renovation would be taking place. Flanked by family members and volunteers Royals stepped into his newly renovated home Saturday.

“I can’t put it into words,” said Royals. “I was so astonished when I walked in, I really wanted to cry.”

We first met Royals in early June. We conducted our interview on his front porch. It was the only place in the home where he felt cool.

“I’ll be here until the Lord comes,” he told us in June.

Royals said his home fell into disrepair because of shoddy work on his roof.

The Northeast Florida Builders Association heard about his story and volunteered to fix the roof at no cost.

The job cost about $6,000.

The builders association invested about 10 times that amount to renovate the inside and kept it a secret from Royals.

“They weren’t supposed to do nothing in here and I went inside there and looked — everything in there was new,” said Royals.

They fixed water-damaged ceilings and floors and leaky pipes, improved the air conditioning, painted the walls, brought in furniture, did some landscaping and help declutter the home.

Royal is asking himself if he’s dreaming.

”There’s got to be something wrong here somewhere and I get up and look and I say, ‘No it’s real,'” said Royals.

NEFBA wanted to help a victim of contractor fraud rebuild.

Its charity Builders Care, is out to right the wrongs of other contractors.

“He was a victim of contractor fraud, and to be able to step (in) and heal that wound, if you will, and more than that to help a veteran,” said NEFBA executive officer Bill Garrison.

The agency hopes to assist more victims of contractor fraud.