Newest Habitat project in northeast Jax ready for residents

By Jim McCabe on January 18 at 1:03pm

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Terri Collins (left) will move into the home with her two daughters.

An abandoned house on Jacksonville’s north side has been rehabilitated into a new home, thanks to Jubilee Habitat For Humanity.

The structure at 141 East Independence is the new home of Terri Collins and her two daughters, Nena and Cloie Carlin. Collins and her daughters, along with Habitat For Humanity officials and the volunteers that rehabbed the house, all gathered this morning for a breaking-in ceremony.

The project was started in May after the home had been abandoned for over a decade.

Collins, originally from Franklin, had been living near downtown Jacksonville. She says the house she was living in before was falling apart. She described her living arrangement as “poor.”

“I just decided that I wasn’t happy with the way life was anymore, and I decided that if I was going to change it, that I was going to be the only one that could do it, and thank goodness these guys decided that me and my girls needed a home and that’s where we needed to start off,” says Collins.

“It’s one of the best things that’s ever happened, other than my girls. I mean, it’s just… I don’t even know how to explain it. The beginning of a new life.”

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Collins works in housekeeping and imaging at Passavant Area Hospital. She says the idea to apply for a new home with Habitat For Humanity was suggested by a co-worker who was a previous successful applicant.

Dale Wooldridge, co-chairman of the organization, says Collins put in the 250 required volunteer hours at her job, something he says was not easy considering the limited amount of time.

“She was a great choice, and she’s been a big help in making decisions and working along with us to let us know what she wanted,” he says.

Wooldridge says the 1,200 square-feet, one-story house was originally built sometime in the early 20th century. It was completely gutted inside when it was purchased, and volunteers rebuilt part of it, put a new roof on, added new drywall, doors and cabinets.

“We wanted to make it the nicest house in the neighborhood, and I think we accomplished that,” says Wooldridge. “I think when you drive by and see the house, it looks like a new house.”

The home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Qualifications to be a successful applicant for a Habitat For Humanity House include having good credit. You can download an application here.

The organization doesn’t give homes away, but instead provides interest-free loans. The money spent towards building the house comes from the homeowner’s mortgage. Habitat secures funds through donations and from the homeowner repayments of their mortgages.