PLANT CITY, Fla. — A Tampa-area nonprofit is working with Hillsborough County to rebuild a Plant City woman's home after it became uninhabitable due to problems that were beyond her limited means to fix.
- Barbara Collins, 70, lived in home for more than 50 years
- On a fixed income, Collins unable to make repairs as problems piled up
- Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County Housing Program rebuilding home
- More Good News stories
For more than 50 years, Barbara Collins, 74, occupied what used to be a home on the corner of South Howard and Ball Street in Plant City. She raised her son and her daughter in the home that was slightly under 1,000 square feet.
"Neighborhood is OK," Collins said. "I never had no problems, nobody bothered you or nothing."
But over the years, the home became more trouble than it was worth. Heavy rain caused damage to the ceiling, walls and floors. At one point, sheet rock collapsed.
"I just had enough when it started coming in the bedrooms," Collins said.
In addition to those problems, Collins has had her share of difficulties in recently years.
She lives on a fixed income. Her health is in decline and she recently had surgery. Her son, a disabled military veteran, lived with her inside the same home that had fallen into disrepair.
"Everything was moved out," said Jose Garcia, executive director of Rebuilding Together. "All piping, all of it, and we started all over again."
The two groups teamed up for this reconstruction program after Collins's daughter reached out for help.
"Initially, they go in and assess the home and if the repairs are greater than 50 percent of the value of the home, then they recommend replacement of the home," said Cheryl Howell, Affordable Housing director for Hillsborough County.
Collins is currently living with her daughter in Lakeland. She expects to move into her new home in May when the rehab is completed.
"I was just really happy," she said. "I really couldn't believe it."