By: Lanetra Bennett
March 20, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Eyewitness News was there when the structure first starting going up ... and now, just a four days later, a Tallahassee woman's brand new dream home is halfway finished.
Cookie Ashby says, "With God, your dreams really do come true."
Ashby's dream is coming together right before her eyes in only seven days.
"All of my life, I've always wished to be a homeowner. And I'm there. It's an amazing feeling. I'm overwhelmed. It's still hard to believe that it's finally here." She says.
The president of Vintage Homes says Florida Representative Daniel Davis asked him to spearhead a one-week Habitat for Humanity Build Blitz.
On Saturday, there was nothing there but a concrete slab. By Wednesday, the dream home is coming to life.
With so many hands on deck, not even a rainy forecast is a deterrence. Members of the House of Representatives, the Leon County School Board, City of Tallahassee and other volunteers have been helping out...
Even Ashby herself pitched in. She says, "Just putting a couple of nails here, couple of nails there. I helped with the siding; hopefully it'll stay together."
The president of Vintage Homes, Jerry Linder, says, "It's more than a house. It really becomes a home. To see that in the eyes of a family like Cookie and her daughters, to be able to give something as a dream come true, is really special."
Ashby will be moving into the 1,100 square foot home on Connecticut Street with her two daughters and two grandsons.
It's expected to be complete on schedule on Friday night.
Ashby says, "We're excited, the grandboys are excited."
There will be a dedication for the home Saturday morning.
It's Day Four of the seven-day home build!
A WCTV reporter is on scene and will bring you an update on the house and an interview with the excited soon-to-be homeowner tonight on Eyewitness News.
By: Elizabeth Nickerson
March 16, 2013
Tallahassee, FL-- "It's amazing," said Cookie Ashby, a new home owner. "Amazing feeling, I can not even explain."
Dozens of volunteers from Habitat for Humanity, and local city and state officials are joining forces to make it happen.
Cookie has waited for this moment since 2010 and in seven days her dream home will become a reality.
"We're in the business of looking at everybody's dream home because we inspect all the houses that are built in the city," said Glenn Dodson, a City of Tallahassee Official. "But it makes me feel real good to know that we have an individual that will become a homeowner."
These people are working around the clock to build a dream home for Cookie's family and the catch is-- it will need to be done in seven days. Every hour city officials are on call to inspect the progress of the home.
"You always got to spice it up a little," said State Representative Daniel Davis from Jacksonville. It's always a lot of fun to put that challenge out there and hopefully we meet it."
"Long time," said Ashby. "Long time and it's finally here."
Cookie and her family will be presented the keys next Saturday as she cuts the ribbon to her brand new home.
Press Release: City of Tallahassee
A local family will see a vacant lot transformed into a new, energy efficient home in one week as the City of Tallahassee partners with the Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Homebuilders Association. Work begins tomorrow morning at 1433 Connecticut Street and will continue 24 hours a day with plans to complete and dedicate the new home the following Saturday, March 23.
As part of the "blitz build" approach, the City's Growth Management Department has agreed to provide a building inspector, available around the clock, to conduct the necessary inspections to verify quality and safety and to keep construction moving forward on the aggressive construction schedule. In addition, the City provided the land for the home and other financial assistance made available through state and federal affordable housing grant programs. The City's Gas Utility is providing gas service in the area and the project is taking advantage of the City's current double rebate program for new, energy efficient appliances.
"This is an outstanding example of city and state leaders in public service making a real commitment to housing in Tallahassee," said Wes Singletary, executive director of the Big Bend Habitat for Humanity. "To know that our labor force for this build will be our state representatives, in partnership with the Florida Homebuilders, demonstrates that these individuals are willing to give of their personal time to build the house for a deserving family."
"The City of Tallahassee and the City Commission are long-term supporters of Habitat and affordable housing, and for this one-week build they have pulled out all the stops to ensure it is a great success," Singletary added.
"From the demolition permit for the previous structure to our commitment to be available around the clock for inspections, we are demonstrating our focus on serving customers in a fast, efficient way while also ensuring the home that will be built is safe and meets all of the building standards," said Karen Jumonville, director of Growth Management. "We are excited to be a part of this innovative project."
As is the requirement for all Habitat homes, the family moving into the new home will work a minimum of 400 hours of "sweat equity" on this and other Habitat builds to qualify to purchase the home at an affordable mortgage rate.
The mother of the family that will purchase the home works for the Leon County School Board, and the schools have also joined the effort by including nearby Riley Elementary School to be used as a construction staging and parking site as the build is taking place during the week of spring break.