TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. – More than 100 women are helping build a home for a Tampa mother and her son who have been homeless and are currently living in unsafe housing.
On Saturday, future home-owner Barbara Colon and other volunteers helped raise the roof on her Temple Terrace residence. It’s part of an annual women-themed empowerment construction event for Habitat for Humanity called ‘Women Build’.
The home will be a first for Colon, who grew up in foster care and lived in a homeless shelter while attending high school. Over the years, she and her 13-year-old son have lived in shelters and with family members. Colon says they currently reside in an unsafe, substandard rental apartment because it’s all she can afford while working at a caregiving center.
She says Habitat for Humanity has been a blessing to her and her son.
“Be able to have comfort, stability, to have peace, not have to move,” Colon stated. “It’s just the foundation for me and my son. This is our future right here. This is anybody’s dream. Any parent’s dream, any individual who is just tired of moving. I don’t want to move. I love Florida.”
Habitat for Humanity is building 12 homes on a single block in Temple Terrace.
Tina Forcier, Habitat for Humanity Hillsborough County CEO says the homes are built with sustainability in mind. She says they typically have three bedrooms, two baths and tile throughout the residence.
“We are able to work with families to break the cycle of poverty and we do it through housing,” Forcier explained. “What we’re doing is somebody comes in and they’re actually paying an affordable mortgage and what we’re doing is providing them education along the way and then we’re partnering with volunteers, community donors, the local government to get the housing cost down enough that they can afford the payment. Once they get in there, they are building generational wealth. They realize the equity in the home once they leave a rental situation and it passes on to their family.”
Over the next 12 weeks, Colon will log more than 300 sweat equity hours as she works alongside the female volunteers and her son to build her new home.
The home is expected to be complete on July 16.