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Home Care Suites Blog

Welcome to the Home Care Suites Blog, where we keep you informed of the latest trends and ideas to increase quality and lower cost for elderly care. 

Follow us on twitter @HomeCareSuites for more news and opinions.

 

Thursday, 13 September 2018 12:43

Home Care.... Sweet!

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The August Issue of Furniture, Lighting and Decor Magazine features Home Care Suites cottages, which it calls, "The Suite Solution”.


The article talks about how there is a new housing alternative that many retiring boomers find appealing: granny flats or accessory dwelling units (ADUs). These backyard cottages, also sometimes referred to as tiny homes, or granny pods, offer an answer to two pressing challenges.


Alison Martin of Lighting and Decor Magazine wrote that ADUs “stand poised to solve two major housing crises in cities across the country: the struggle for more affordable housing and the eventual wave of retired and aged Baby Boomers who cannot physically live or afford to live by themselves.”


Henry Moseley Jr., founder and president of Home Care Suites started making these ADUs when his friend asked him to transform a cabana into a livable space for an aging family member. From this experience, Moseley created the custom cottage building company “designed for elderly living with a focus on accessibility.”

By 2035, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65, as well as one in three heads of house, says the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. As housing and healthcare costs continue to rise, ADUs may provide a win-win-win: affordable housing in major cities, comfortable living for aging Boomers and caregiving assistance for adult children.”

While ADUs are a great option for some boomers, they are not a perfect fit for everyone. The cottages are a significant investment.   According to Carrie Shores of San Francisco Bay Area-based Larson Shores Architecture and Interiors explains, “Little houses have all the same expensive parts as a big house but don’t have the extra square feet to bring down the cost.”

“In Florida, the ADU’s cost about $200 per square foot to build. Moseley’s most popular design — a 400-square-foot ADU with a 65- to 85-square-foot porch — costs about $85,000.00"

However, compared to the cost of assisted living facilities (ALF), ADUs are more cost-effective in the long run. According to research the average cost of a one-bedroom in an ALF in the United States is between $3,500 and $4,000 per month.

Building a Home Care Suite pays for itself in just over two years of paying for a one-bedroom in an Alternative Living Facility.

There are a few ways to recoup the investment. In Florida taxpayers are able to get a waiver on their taxes if there is an elderly person living in a space on their property.

“If people think they’re building these cottages just for a parent,” Moseley says, “they’re mistaken.”   Home Care Suites residents enjoy multiple benefits from multi-generation living. Grandparents are able to spend more time with the grandkids, parents spend less time driving across town to visit mom or dad, and the cottage can be used for multiple purposes after their loved one has passed away.  

In a 2016 AARP report, it estimates that that family caregivers focused on the elderly spend about 20 percent of their annual income on costs related to caregiving. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the emotional toll.

Alison Martin said it best in her piece in Lighting and Decor Magazine:  “Greater access to affordable housing and ADUs could potentially benefit people of all ages no matter where they’re living. The tools are out there. Now it will be up to cities and communities to help future generations realize their American Dreams and let others finish theirs in dignity.”

To read the piece by Martin, click here:  https://www.furniturelightingdecor.com/suite-solution

To take a virtual tour of our most popular Home Care Suite model, The Floridian, click here.

Thursday, 06 September 2018 14:32

Grandkids Make Life Grand

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If you knew grandkids would be this fun, you would have had them first, right!?


It should come as no surprise that when kids spend more time with their grandparents, everyone wins. With age, comes wisdom. Our elders have a wealth of information - just waiting to share knowledge, love and skill sets with anyone, but particularly younger relatives.


Good Housekeeping Magazine wrote an article, titled, “A New Study Says Kids Need to Spend More Time With Their Grandparents -- Another thing your mom was right about!”  You can find it here.  


Studies have shown that intergenerational interaction has many benefits - it makes kids more compassionate, patient, interested in a variety of fields, and cultivates a more positive view of the elderly in general. Kids reported learning life lessons and expanding their skill set on an interpersonal level and in a more tangible way, as well.


It might also come as no surprise that Florida has the highest percentage of senior citizens than any other state. Children who recorded spending time with their grandparent/s at least once a week reported being happier and healthier.


As seniors retire and find their homes become a bit too much for them to manage anymore, a great option is a Home Care Suite. It allows grandparents to maintain their independence by still living on their own and allows them access to interact with their grandchildren. Grandparents and grandchildren are able to grow their relationship with weekly dates, as well as pass down wisdom learned from a life well lived.


Click here to learn more about Home Care Suites - backyard cottages built to keep your family close, comfortable, and independent.   

Thursday, 16 August 2018 13:55

How Will You Pay for Your Tiny Home?

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The tiny house craze continues, with more and more people considering the idea of a tiny home on wheels.  The concept of being able to winter in the south and summer in the north is appealing.

However, there are a few important things to consider before you invest in a tiny home on wheels -- or even a tiny house on a stand-alone lot --  like, how are you going to pay for it?


How Will You Pay for Your Tiny Home?  

Recently Huffington Post did a story about financing tiny homes, we highlight several of their key points in this blog.   

Because tiny homes on wheels are mobile, they do not qualify for a traditional home mortgage.

Actually, THOWs don’t qualify for a home mortgage for a few reasons.


So, if you go to a bank and try to take a loan out for a tiny house, you may get a raised eyebrow.

Financing Options for Your Tiny House 

You might be able to get financing for your THOW with an RV loan. However, the catch here is that the THOWneeds to be certified as an RV by an organization such as the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. This is the most cost effective type of loan, however, meeting the standards to receive an RV loan on your THOW can be a lengthy and expensive process; and may end up being not so cost effective after all.

If getting an RV loan is too much trouble, you can try taking out a personal loan. Yet, a personal loan has a higher interest rate, even with good credit.

Other things to consider for your THOW are where will you park it? As of yet, there are not many tiny home parks established like there are RV parks, and some RV parks are not welcoming to the tiny mobile homes. In most neighborhoods, it is illegal to live in a mobile home on a residential property. Think about it: what will you use for your sewer hookup?

You can read our blog about tiny homes on wheels, called “Home is where you hook up” here.    Note, since the publication of that blog post, developers in Tampa Bay have proposed to build a tiny home community in St. Petersburg, and another Tiny Home Community proposed in Ruskin, although neither development is complete.

If you are thinking of building a tiny house on a stand-alone lot -- again - we ask you to carefully consider all of the costs associated with developing a lot - putting in a driveway, paying local assessments and development fees, putting in the sewer, and connecting to electric. We itemize those costs in detail on our blog, “Before you build a tiny house on an empty lot, consider this.”

Popular Financing Methods for Home Care Suites  

We firmly believe that the most efficient and economical way to “go tiny” is to build an “accessory dwelling unit” -- essentially a detached mother-in-law suite - on a lot with an existing primary home structure.    When you tie a tiny house into the larger house, you avoid significant expenses associated with water, sewer, and electric, because you are able to connect to the existing home’s utility infrastructure.

Many of our Home Care Suites customers are looking to downsize - or “right-size” - and so they sell their existing larger home (which costs more to maintain and takes longer to clean) and invest in a Home Care Suite --  a cottage they build in the backyard of a family member - in most cases - their adult child.

Home Care Suites - which are tiny homes that are built as an accessory dwelling unit -  have several financial benefits. First - it allows the aging parent to divest their assets, and to transfer their wealth to their adult children. Second, for the adult children whose property the cottage is being built on -- because it is being built for an aging parent - it actually does not increase their property taxes.  

According to FL Statute, 193.703, there may be a reduction in the assessed value of a homestead property with construction or reconstruction of the property for the purpose of providing living quarters for parents or grandparents, so long as:
• The living quarters are provided for a person who is at least 62 years of age.
• The living quarters are provided for one or more natural or adoptive parents or grandparents.  

To Depreciate or Appreciate? 

A tiny home on wheels is going to depreciate or lose value over time. Our Home Care Suites cottages are home built on a permanent foundation, so they do not lose value and only increase the fair market value of the primary house commensurate with the cost to build or value of the cottage.

The adult child benefits because their property value goes up (In-Law Suites are a hot commodity) and they do not have any tax penalties, because according to Florida statute,  a home renovation made for an aging parent is exempt from property taxes.

We hope that you appreciate these financial considerations as you continue on your journey to “go tiny.” 

Tampa Bay Times Story ScreenShot

Home Care Suites was featured in the Sunday Homes Section of the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday, June 3rd. 

You can find the article by clicking this link

The article discusses how popular the tiny home trend is, but points out that the biggest problem with Tiny Homes on Wheels (THOW) is that there is nowhere to put them.  While efforts are underway to build a tiny home community, as of June 2018, there are not any tiny home communities in Tampa Bay, other than trailer parks. 

The benefits of the Home Care Suite - are: 

Hurricane Proof: our cottages are built on a permanent concrete foundation with hurricane-rated doors, windows, and roof. 

Comfortable and Convenient:  Our cottages are super insulated with icyning foam insulation that keeps you cool and comfortable all year long. Our cottages are larger than they typical tiny home on wheel, offering more living space. 

Economical:  Not only do you not pay any additional property taxes on your tiny home if it is built for your family, but these homes do not depreciate, like an RV or a tiny home on wheels would. 

You can read more from our founder, Henry Moseley, who is quoted in the article here.  

This photo of the interior of our Floridian model was featured in the June 3rd 2018 issue of the Sunday Homes Section in the Tampa Bay Times. 

Interior Living KitchenBedroomHallway Dunedin HomeCareSuite

 

Do you want to build a stand-alone tiny house?

It’s fun to dream about finding a little plot of land and building your own tiny dream home on the lot. But, it turns out that there are quite a few factors to keep in mind when you are developing a new lot.

Downsizing is all the rage, but before you build a tiny house as your stand-alone permanent residence, we encourage you to consider these things:

A big part of the expense of building a new home-especially on an undeveloped lot- actually comes from the underground work – things you might not think of.  

For modern day comforts, you need to have a home that has running water, sewage system, and electricity. If you have a vacant lot that is not already developed, you will have to pay significant additional fees to install your utilities: water, electric, sewage.

But there’s more. Depending on where you live, impact fees should be expected with your new residential development project. These fees are imposed and required by the state: school, fire service, parks, and transportation/ mobility fee.

So you know may be asking yourself, how much will all of this cost? The generic answer is, “more than you think!” But let’s add numbers to give us an approximation we can all compare. In the chart below, the numbers provided are based on counties located in the Tampa area, however, these fees are subject to change depending on the area of construction.

Keep in mind that these figures are approximations and they will vary depending on the county, zone, and the development of the land.

General Residential Development Charges Approximate Cost
Impact Fee-Transportation *depending on square footage $3,100.00 
Impact Fee- Recreational *depending on 1BR or 2BR and building zone   $275.00
Impact Fee- School *depending on square footage  $1,500.00
Impact-Fee Fire   $50.00
Meter Installation- Portable Water
*Septic System Setup (if needed)
Water Well *if needed
Water line set up
Engineering inspection
Reading Device
Wastewater charges
Survey
Electrical Connection
Permit Certification
 $18,000 to $133,500 
Total Costs $23,000 to $138,000 

 

*The county charges the impact fees. These averages were provided by Hillsborough County http://hcflgov.net/library/hillsborough/media-center/documents/public-works/impact-fees/residential-impact-mobility-schedule.pdf?la=en

* The site development costs for utility setup were estimates provided by http://buildingadvisor.com/buying-land/budgeting/typical-site-development-costs/. Please keep in mind that these values depend on the level of development of the land you purchase.

Now add on top of that the cost of building the cottages – our tiny homes start at $55,000, and go up to $110,000 or even $140,000 for the larger two-bedroom models with a full kitchen.  

Now that you have a general idea about the costs associated with a new development, this information should be considered when you’re making the decision to build your new home.

We don’t want to discourage your plans but do hope we can provide you with a clearer picture!

We generally build our cottages as a backyard structure – being the second living unit on an already-developed lot allows us to tie our cottages utilities into the existing water, sewer, and electric, which saves tremendously on costs.  

If you are thinking about building a stand-alone tiny new home on an undeveloped lot, you should compare these costs those associated with purchasing an existing home, and ultimately choose the best option for YOU: because home is where the heart is!

 

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 10:12

Home Care Suites featured on WFLA NBC

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We are so happy to be featured on Tampa's NBC station, WFLA. We had so much fun working with reporter Meredyth Censullo, Sheila De Santo and her wonderful family in Clearwater.  Check out our awesome NBC segment on Granny Cottages.  

Granny Cottages on WFLA NBC Tampa Home Care Suites

Thursday, 21 September 2017 07:43

Clearwater Cottage - The Floridian Model

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DeSanto Exterior Pool Screen Medium Distance

Home Care Suites recently completed a cottage in Clearwater for a lovely family.  Our client, Sheila, had been a successful real estate agent for many years and had a nice condo in downtown Clearwater, but she had gotten to a point where she preferred to be close to her family. She sold her condo and built a cottage in her son's backyard, which had a smaller footprint than her condo, and would be easier to maintain with lower utility bills.   

Sheila had taken care of her own father and went through the process of him aging and passing away, so she had a first-hand experience of taking care of parents.  Sheila decided that a Home Care Suite was a much better option for her. Sheila wanted to be close to her family, but she also wanted to maintain her independence and have her own private space.   

Having spent dozens of years as a real estate agent, Sheila knew the value and appeal of having a guest house on a property.  Sheila's cottage was completed in early August 2017 and she is living comfortably there now.  

We are very happy to report that Sheila's cottage stood up to Hurricane Irma with no damage, and she and her family were safe through the storm.   

The cottage is attached to the main home through a connected breezeway, and a screened in lanai that surrounds the family's backyard pool.  Sheila and her family love gathering together on their back patio in the evenings and on weekends.   In Clearwater, building code requires that an accessory dwelling unit must be attached to the main home, so we were able to create a lovely compound for this family by attaching the cottage through a small roof tie-in and breezeway.  

CLICK HERE TO VIEW A VIRTUAL TOUR OF OUR CLEARWATER COTTAGE. 

Home Care Suites was featured on Tampa Bay's Channel 10 WTSP CBS News in early July, 2017  

Nightside reporter, Beau Zimmer met with one of our South Tampa families, Kathy and RC Barker, who are building a backyard cottage.  This cottage for Kathy's father, a retired Military Colonel who wanted to maintain his independence. Kathy and her father considered an assisted living facility, but after visiting a few, her Father decided they were not a good fit for him. After doing a little research, Kathy found the backyard cottage option, and her father thought it was a perfect fit!  

You can also find a link to view the video on WTSP CBS Ch. 10 website here: http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/-senior-cottage-an-alternative-for-the-elderly/454836118

Beau Zimmer CBS WTSP Ch. 10 Home Care Suites

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 15:30

Home Care Suites vs. MedCottage

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Home Care Suites VS MedCottage

GrannyPod Showdown1


The “Granny Pod” trend is sweeping the nation, and there’s one company that’s getting a lot of attention. Home Care Suites would like to challenge the versatility of the popularly sited “MedCottage,” and suggest that our granny pod offers a more comfortable, practical, and economical cottage lifestyle for your aging family member. 

But first…

What is a granny pod? 

Essentially, a granny pod is a stand-alone housing structure that a family puts in their backyard for an aging relative.  This structure can be modular, although this is not permitted in Florida. Florida requires permanently built structures. The technical term for a granny pod is an “Accessory Dwelling Unit.” These tiny homes, or granny flats are gaining popularity as baby boomers increasingly reject assisted living facilities or nursing homes and pursue options that allow them to age in place. 

Granny pods or granny flats are more appealing than a traditional spare bedroom mother-in-law suite because they are a separate building, giving everyone their own privacy and separate living space.  Mom or dad can live with you; just not under your roof.  This new option for aging parents is an affordable alternative to assisted living facilities, which can cost well over $3,000 per month out of pocket.  Granny pods, or Home Care Suites enable an efficient, family-focused lifestyle keeps families close and independent. 

MedCottage VS. Tampa-Bay-based Home Care Suites 

Affordability

Home Care Suites: $75,000 to $110,000

MedCottage:  $150,000 to $200,000

Comfort

Home Care Suites:  Our cottages are designed to focus on high quality living and comfort.  Our builder has over 30 years of experience designing high-end custom homes, bathrooms and kitchens. We know how to design and build comfortable, livable structures that are pleasing to the eye. The cottage lifestyle is cozy and convenient. We’ve made the most of our floor space so that everything you need is at your fingertips in one comfortable, compact space. The Home Care Suites cottage is designed to feel more like home than a hospital room.  

MedCottage: MedCottage granny pods have a more sterile environment similar to a nursing home or a skilled care center. The design is centered around medical components, such as blood pressure cuffs, medication dispensers, activity sensors, and other medical technology that not only increases the cost of the structure but make it feel more like a doctor’s office than home. 

Practicality

Home Care Suites:  A Home Care Suite is an affordable investment with long-term value; it is an investment into your home that can be used throughout every stage of life.  Your Home Care Suite can be used for multiple purposes in addition to the original purpose; it can be a home office, gym, guesthouse, or game room.  

MedCottage: While the company claims that this building can be repurposed for future activities, such alterations will not come easily. The initial design of the building is focused on the efficiency and finish of a skilled care nursing Center which is much more difficult to repurpose.

Conversely, Home Care Suites cottages focus first on comfort and livability. Individual owners have the option to add as many or as few medical devices as they desire a la carte. Our basic design is a versatile one that can be easily used as a pool cabana, then as a mother-in-law suite/granny pod and then again used as an office or guest home as needs change.

Accessibility

Home Care Suites: The cottage is custom-designed to match the primary home on a family’s lot. We can easily add wheelchair ramps, and other components such as easy-to-reach cabinets and adjust counter-heights to meet the needs of your family member. 

MedCottage:  The photos we’ve seen of MedCottage clearly show stairs in the front entryway, which would be difficult to navigate for a person in a wheelchair. 

Structural Integrity

Home Care Suites Our structures are permanently built to match the architectural style of the primary residence. Home Care Suites meet Florida building codes and are capable of withstanding Florida hurricanes. We construct our buildings from concrete, wood framing, with each durable cottage reflecting our building expertise, singularity, and craftsmanship.

MedCottage are modular, portable residences with plastic vinyl siding that we do not believe would meet Florida building codes.

In Tampa Bay, Home Care Suites is your best option for a granny pod that will enhance the value of your home and keeps your loved one close and independent.
Monday, 23 November 2015 10:53

Tiny House on Wheels in Tampa Bay

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Home Is Where You Hook Up 

Do you want to build a tiny house on wheels (THOW) and live in Tampa Bay? Not so fast.

Your Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) Is Actually an RV

We've seen the clever tiny homes featured on television - many have been built on wheels. When you build your tiny house on wheels, it is technically considered a Recreational Vehicle, or RV. RV's are subject to regulations that prevent you from taking up residence and parking anywhere you choose. If you want to live in Tampa Bay, before you pursue building a tiny house on wheels, consider this:

 

Where are you going to put your tiny house on wheels?

 

In your head, you may see yourself living here:

Beautiful Tiny Homes Tiny House Community Orlando

 

But in reality, you may end up living here: 

Trailer Park Image2 sm

 


The bottom line is that in the Tampa Bay area, there are very few places where you can actually live in your tiny house on wheels (THOW).

 

    1. RV Park
    2. Tiny House Community, aka an RV Park, (none that we know of in Tampa Bay; closest one is in Orlando)
    3. Your own land (properly zoned, single family lot with permanent water, power and septic or sewer needed – a serious financial commitment).

 

The most likely choice is an RV Park.

 

Welcome home to your tiny house in an RV Park!

Trailer Park Mailboxes

 

Is this really where you want to live?  


As we mentioned in our previous blog post, there are rules about living in what is technically considered an RV. All communities have rules about where you can park an empty RV, and the rules are much more stringent when someone actually occupies the RV as a permanent residence. Your THOW is required to be hooked up to sewer and water, and there are only certain places that have the capability of offering those hook-ups – mainly RV parks.

 

Trailer Park image 3

 

Trailer Park Image1

 

We visited a few RV Parks and mobile home communities in the Tampa Bay area. We asked them if they would be willing to accept a THOW. We found that the majority are deed restricted and do not want home-built projects in their community. Others only accept selected manufacturers' "park models" that do not exceed 600 square feet. We did, however, find a very nice RV community near the Hillsborough River State Park that would allow temporary parking for your THOW, but would not allow for a permanent stay.

 

The Tiny House Community website offers a national listing of tiny house friendly RV parks; there are approximately fifteen of these RV parks in the state of Florida. 

 

*** UPDATE ***  Even the RV people say that a Tiny House is not an RV! 

Even the RV Community is rejecting the THOW concept! We recently reviewed the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association website, and we verified a few things. There's a type of recreational vehicle known as a "Park Model" - here is what the RVIA says about these "Park Models"  

"These RVs are used for recreational purposes only. They are not meant to be permanently affixed to the property, they do not improve property values in any way, and they are neither designed nor intended by their manufacturers to be used as permanent residences." 

When asked the question, "Is a Park Model RV a Tiny Home" the answer is a resounding NO. RVIA explains:

"so-called 'tiny homes' that the media describes are not really homes either. That's because federal, state and local laws typicaly require that permanent residences be built to federal, state or local building codes or standards. Few so-called 'tiny homes' meet those standards."  

 

Want to live in a THOW in your backyard? That is illegal.


Occupying a THOW in the backyard of a single family zoned parcel is prohibited in the Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.

 

    • You can park your THOW along the side of your house, but you can't live there.
    • You must be the only house on the lot. Make sure you comply with zoning. All single family homes lots are zoned to have one single family, permanently built structure on the site. Multiple living structures are not permitted.  

 

Want to buy a lot, or put yout THOW on your vacant land? That could be costly.  


By the time you spend the money to incorporate the required infrastructure, (water/sewer/electric) you might as well build a traditional house.

 

Other things to consider for a THOW: 

 

  • If it is on wheels, then it is considered a "mobile home" and it needs to meet the requirements of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) - essentially making sure the structure is safe enough to be transported on the highway.

  • Your tiny house on wheels will be inspected. The DMV and local building officials will be checking to see if there is an Engineer Of Record (EOR.) Only the EOR can make modifications and additions to the building.

  • In order to make it a permanent residence, you need to have a licensed mobile home contractor strap it down with hurricane straps to ensure it can withstand Florida's Building Code Hurricane Requirements.

  • You are required to register your "RV" annually with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

 

It's a lot of fun to imagine yourself living in a tiny home. We understand that this lifestyle enables people to declutter, free up resources, and get outdoors to enjoy life. However, fully understand that local communities throughout the United States limit the short and long term placement and closely manage the construction of THOWs.  

 

Bottom Line - Your THOW is not a permanent home because it doesn't meet Florida building codes.  

You should carefully plan ahead before you build a Tiny House On Wheels (THOW).  As an alternative, a properly zoned and permanently built tiny home or Accessory Dwelling Unit should be seriously considered.  For more information on such a structure, please contact Home Care Suites.  

 

Below is a photo of one of our Accessory Dwelling Units under contruction in North Tampa.  This tiny house was designed to meet local codes, properly permitted, and built to match the architectural design of the house.  

  

HomeCareSuites ADU Mackin Exterior

 

Home Care Suites

 

 

 

 

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Home Care Suites are an affordable alternative to an assisted living facility in the greater Tampa Bay area.
Home Care Suites serves the Central Florida Market including Tampa,  St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Largo, Dunedin, Seffner, Lakeland, Land O Lakes, New Port Richey, Riverview, Plant City, Town N Country, Spring Hill, Zephyrhills, Dade City, Clermont, Brooksville, Apopka, St. Cloud, Haines City, Winter Haven, Lake Wales & more.

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