Rosie Woods held out as long as she could. She patched a leaky roof, covered a caving floor with rugs. It was her home, and had been for over 40 years.
That all changed – at least temporarily – in December, when the two-bedroom McKinney house was demolished. For so long, even two decades before Woods moved in, it sat along Railroad Street, across from the train tracks. Her two sons grew up there.
And just like that, it was gone. But Woods, 70, wasn’t dismayed.
“I just felt like this is it, I get something new,” Woods said. “And I needed something new.”
By its forced tumble, her community had rallied around her: They would build Woods a new home – in the same spot.
Matt Hilton, a board member with North Collin County Habitat for Humanity, spread word of Woods’ need. She couldn’t get Community Development Block Grant funds – a technicality based on noise pollution from trains outside her front door – and she didn’t qualify for a Habitat home.
Sure, Habitat could have overhauled the exterior, put on a new roof even. But that was it.
“It’d be a Band-Aid,” Cox said. “The whole house would have fallen in.”
Weeks prior was a telling picture of Woods’ dedication to the home: Cox visited to find Woods deep in her bedroom, bundled up from a freezing house, water dripping in all around. Something had to be done.
When Cox brought in a flyer showing Woods’ home, telling her story, Hilton rose to the call.
“When I see that someone needs help, I want to help any way I can,” said Hilton, founder and CEO of Step Up Realty. “I took it as my personal project.”
That project stalled as spring ushered in heavy rains. Volunteers kind of forgot about it, and Woods has stayed at The Samaritan Inn homeless shelter just down the road. She’s visited the home site almost daily and prayed.
A colon cancer survivor, Woods is just happy to be here to see it, whenever it happens.
And momentum has returned. A slab foundation is laid and donations are pouring in. An online GoFundMe account has raised over $5,800, and NCC Habitat has garnered about $3,000 through its website.
The money will go toward paying off Woods’ home equity line of credit, about $19,000 for repairs to the old house. New Summit Homes has volunteered to build the new one, free of charge. Other companies will donate the furnishings and put in landscaping.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Hilton said this week, ahead of a projected three-month construction timeline.
Woods said she’s got patience. Like when she held out in her other house, she hasn’t given up on the next one.
It’ll be two rooms, built upon solid ground and, most importantly, off Railroad Street.
“McKinney is home,” Woods said. “This is home.”