SARASOTA, Fla. — Two hard-working single moms received the surprise of a lifetime Tuesday morning when they found themselves standing inside their brand new homes.
Erica and Lauren were selected by Habitat for Humanity Sarasota and Warrick Dunn Charities to each receive a home after struggling to find affordable housing for their families. Now they're next-door neighbors!
“It’s a blessing, it’s...oh my god, I can’t express. It’s everything to me," Erica, one of the recipients, said.
Erica works six days a week to provide for herself and her three teenagers.
“I did two jobs for some years, and I stopped doing it because my oldest said, 'Mom you don’t spend much time with us,' so I left one job and I’m just doing one right now," Erica said.
Warrick Dunn Charities, a non-profit started by former NFL star and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warrick Dunn, aims to help single parents across the country in their pursuit of first-time homeownership. The homes are earned and financed through Habitat for Humanity Sarasota but that's not all the charity does for its recipients. Erica and Lauren also each received a $5,000 down-payment assistance check and $10,000 worth of furniture from Aaron's.
“For me, it’s always those life-changing moments. I think about my mom and my brothers and sisters, and I can only imagine at that age walking through the home for the first time and seeing all of the things as an organization we provide, for me that’s life-changing," Warrick Dunn said.
Erica is especially grateful for this help; she's had an emotional year so far. Her brother recently passed away and while she wishes he could be around to witness this moment, she knows he's in her heart.
“I felt like I did everything for him and for my kids, and he’s watching down over me each and every day and I think about him every day," Erica said.
Warrick Dunn Charities has helped build 192 homes for single parents and their kids across the nation. Dunn says they will continue to do it until they can’t anymore.