Two Cantonment Residents Receive New Homes Through County Programs

July 11, 2024

Two Cantonment residents are the proud owners of brand-new homes that were constructed through county assistance programs that help eligible residents who are living in homes that are damaged beyond repair.

Both homeowners are longtime Cantonment residents, struggling over the years to maintain their aging homes. Now, through the county’s Housing Demo and Replacement Programs, their deteriorating and unsafe houses have been replaced with brand-new houses that will provide them with a safer, less stressful environment to call home.

The new homes were constructed for 79-year-old Mary Simpkins and 77-year-old Barbara Stanton, who were joined by their friends, family, county staff, and District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry to celebrate their official move-in day on July 10.

For more photos, click here.

“I am so proud that we are able to offer county programs like this that help improve the quality of life for our residents in need of a helping hand,” Commissioner Barry said. “There’s no better feeling than having a place of your own to call home, and I hope these new homes provide peace of mind and a sense of security for the homeowners and their families. Congratulations to Ms. Simpkins and Ms. Stanton on this exciting next chapter, and thank you to all of our county staff for their hard work to make this possible.”

Simpkins, Stanton, and their families all expressed their excitement for the new homes, which they said will alleviate significant stress caused by numerous maintenance issues in their old houses.

Stanton moved into her previous house in 1971, with the most significant issues starting after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Roof damage and leaks throughout the house lead to water damage, issues with mold, termites, and generally unsafe living conditions.

“When Ivan came through, that’s when I started having a lot of problems with it,” Stanton said. “It sounded like the roof was lifting off the house. After that, I started having leaks, and then I would get it patched. I stayed kind of disgusted by the way my house was, because before the storm came, it was pretty nice.”

Stanton heard about the possibility of county assistance through a longtime friend, who helped her submit an application for the county’s Housing Demo and Replacement Programs. The programs are funded through grants from the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the State Housing Initiatives Partnership, or SHIP, program.

“I’m just as satisfied and happy as I can be,” Stanton said. “I thank God first of all, county staff, Commissioner Barry – everybody that had a hand in it. I’m so very thankful.”

Simpkins had also experienced numerous issues since moving into her house in 1981, to the point where the house became uninhabitable and unsafe. After the trailer she was living in burned down several years ago, a friend suggested that Simpkins should apply for assistance through the county.

“The water leaked from the kitchen sink, and the water just leaked all the way down and caused holes and rotting,” Simpkins said, describing her former house. “Nobody lived in it then, because it was in bad shape. It was dangerous all over the house – I was scared.”

Simpkins said she’s very grateful for her new home, which will also provide some relief for her family since she has been living with her daughters for about three years.

“I’m excited,” Simpkins said. “I feel real good. I’m just ready to move in.”

Simpkins’ daughter, Sharon Collins, said the whole family is excited for their mom to have a happier, more peaceful life in her new home.

“It really means a lot to my mom, because this is something she’s always been dreaming of, to have her dream home,” Collins said. “It’ll take a big burden off of her, because she’s been really stressed about the other home she used to live in. And we were trying to help her with it, but it just got to a point where it got too bad and we couldn’t fix it anymore.”

Both Simpkins’ and Stanton’s new houses were constructed with stringent insurance and wind mitigation standards in mind, with features including impact-rated windows and doors, along with strengthened shingles and siding to ensure maximum strength in the event of an extreme weather event. These features should also help with eligibility for more competitive insurance policies.

“We’re excited about her moving in and being able to help support her in all the things she’s been wishing for,” Collins said. “This will help us not have to worry so much about repairing the home so she can just live a peaceful life, and we’ll be supportive of her so she can just be happy.”

Additional assistance may be available for income-eligible homeowners in Escambia County. Limited funding is available, but eligible residents in need of assistance are encouraged to reach out for more details. For information about eligibility requirements and assistance programs for Escambia County homeowners, please contact the Neighborhood Enterprise Division at or 850-595-1642.

Photos for, click to enlarge.


8 Responses to “Two Cantonment Residents Receive New Homes Through County Programs”

  1. Naomi on July 12th, 2024 11:49 pm

    I love seeing this for them! Safe affordable housing is scarce especially in Escambia. The frustration of hitting brick walls is often overwhelming to me. So to know that some make it past the barriers and get the help they should is soul soothing. It gives me hope that there is something out there for my kids and I.

  2. Jan on July 12th, 2024 9:24 am


  3. Lorraine Black on July 11th, 2024 6:55 pm

    God’s Grace and Mercy!!
    Congratulations to them both..

  4. Grams on July 11th, 2024 3:05 pm

    What a WONDERFUL Blessing to these ladies

  5. Jcellops on July 11th, 2024 12:03 pm

    What a happy day for these ladies! Are their demolished properties signed over to the county, or are their new homes built onto their demolished property area?

  6. Jessie on July 11th, 2024 9:54 am

    What a blessing to both women …

  7. Kate on July 11th, 2024 8:41 am

    Congratulations, your homes are a part of you now. God Bless.

  8. Eric Hallford on July 11th, 2024 5:53 am

    That family has been around me for years I bring them fish all the time! Amazing people!

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