Woman hopes home is neighborhood's fresh start

A woman looking for a safe place to call home for years is finally seeing her dream turn to reality.
 
Tamara Harrell said she is just looking for a new beginning.
 
Harrell's new home in south St. Petersburg is the final stop in a journey to find a safe, affordable place to raise her two children.
 
"Now that we have that stability, we don't have to move. We just have something we can call our own,” Harrell said.
 
Harrell moved three times in the last five years,  including a brief stop at Mariners Pointe in 2011 where a security guard was shot and killed outside her apartment.
 
"I heard it. But if I would have looked out, you would have seen it,” Harrell said.
 
After just one month, she left.
 
"You never know what could have happened. Maybe a bullet could have ricochet in a room, in the bedroom. Anything could have happened,” Harrell said.
 
For the past 12 months, she's watched Habitat for Humanity build her dream home. She’s helped with her own sweat equity.
 
"We actually painted the house. You get your roller and all that good stuff and we actually painted the house,” Harrell said.
 
She also picked the lot in a neighborhood Habitat organizers said people don't typically choose. But to Harrell it's where she grew up.
 
And in an uncommon move for Habitat, the organization is building her sister’s house right next door.
 
The completion of Harrell's home is just the beginning for the South St. Petersburg neighborhood.
 
"We also know there's a need for home repairs for people who are struggling to maintain their existing homes,” said Ronald Spoor with Habitat for Humanity.
 
Habitat is planning to expand a program that will help those homeowners and improve the community around Harrell.
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