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Local non-profit helps families stay in their homes, communities

Posted: 4:10 PM, Jan 29, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-29 18:44:59-05
Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay

PLANT CITY, Fla. — A plant city woman is getting the house of her dreams, and it's all thanks to Hillsborough County and Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay.

"I'm very excited. I can't find the words to express," said Barbara Collins.

Collins has live on the corner of Ball and South Howard for more than 40 years. The last thing she wants to do is move, but she almost had to.

"We were at our wits end," said Angela Smith.

Smith is Collins' daughter. Her mother's house was falling apart due to water damage.

"I knew we had to get out of there," said Collins. "Water was everywhere and damaged the nerves in my hands."

The family couldn't afford the high cost for the repairs, so Smith reached out to the county and Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay for help.

Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay is a nonprofit organization that specializes in "making positive improvements in homes in order to maintain a healthy and energy efficient environment to live in" for low-income homeowners.

The family was elated when Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay stepped in to help. It came at the perfect time. Collins is sick and just had surgery. Her son is a disabled veteran. They are both living with Smith, who is a federal employee impacted by the shutdown.

"We survived," Smith said. "God is good."

Collins' new house will have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a state of the art kitchen with all new appliances, and a brand new washer and dryer." She still can't believe it.

"Is this real?" she asked.

Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay is working on three other homes with similar damage like Collins.

"A tremendous amount of work goes into these projects," Cheryl Howell, the affordable housing director for the county, said. "This is not only an investment in the family but an investment into the community as well."