Tampa family gets keys to their Habitat home

Kellie Cowan reports

- As Habitat For Humanity's Hillsborough chapter prepares to give its 180th home to a low-income family on World Habitat Day - October 3 - another Tampa family is already settling in to their brand new home.

Saturday was a dream come true for Rhonda Barr: for the first time in her life the single mother of four is a home owner.

"It means stability. It means preparing for my kids' future and being able to leave something behind," said Barr.

Her new four bedroom Lowry Park bungalow was built from the ground up thanks to a team of Habitat for Humanity volunteers, a land donation from the City of Tampa and Barr's own hard work.

"I learned a lot," said Barr, who was required to complete home ownership classes, save for her home's closing costs and put in 300 hours of work on Habitat homes. "They taught me how to put insulation in. They taught me a lot here. Being a woman and having the feeling that I can do it on my own feels good. I can try and fix things on my own because I have a general idea now."

The nicest thing about habitat: it's a hand up not a hand out," said Habitat Hillsborough VP of Construction Ron Johnson. "They work for everything that they get."

Rhonda squeezed her 300 hours of work between her full time job and the evening classes she's taking to get ahead. Sweat equity that's finally paying off for her whole family. 

"To be able to have a yard is something [my children] have never had, to be able to go outside and play. They've always been in an apartment or in a neighborhood where I wouldn't be able to send them outside. It feels really good to be able to send my kids outside to play and not have to worry about anything," said Barr.

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