Warrick Dunn's 25th year helping deserving families achieve home ownership ahead of the holidays

A former Tampa Bay Buccaneer helped families get homes for the 25th year in a row ahead of the holidays. 

Warrick Dunn, a former Bucs player, presented the homes on Emma Street in East Tampa to qualifying families. They were the 207th and 208th home he presented since the Home for the Holidays program began during his rookie year with the Bucs in 1997. 

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Single mother Deniseshia Numan, 31, and her 9-year-old son Carter received one of th homes.

"I just want to thank you everybody," Numan said as she wiped away tears. "It’s amazing. Thank God for everything. It’s such a blessing."

Dunn started his charity in memory of his mother Betty, a Baton Rouge police officer who was murdered while working off-duty. The city started a fund for her family.

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"And that’s how we were able to pay our bills and survive," Dunn said Tuesday. "They taught me what it really means to wrap your arms around each other and care about your neighbor."

Numan was born with sensory nerve damage that left her hearing impaired. She has worked for the past 11 years as an operating room attendant at Tampa General Hospital. 

Dunn doesn’t give away the homes, but he helps recipients make a down payment and assists them in qualifying for a mortgage. 

The homes awarded Tuesday were part of Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s Infill program. It acquires distressed properties and helps turn them into affordable homes for income qualified residents.