Fixing burglarized Habitat for Humanity home in Gainesville

7:56 PM, Jan 3, 2013   |    comments
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Habitat for Humanity volunteers. (file photo)

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- After just three months of progress, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity returned to their construction site Wednesday morning only to discover it was vandalized over Christmas break.

RELATED | Habitat for Humanity resource page

In addition to the damages, Habitat's Hall County president Robert Akin said thieves stole nearly $1,600 in tools and stripped cooper wiring from inside the house by kicking in the back door and breaking a window.

For, Sherricka Smith, a single mother of two, the damage to her dream house is devastating.

To make matters worse, Akin said funds being raised for the next house will be used to replace everything-creating a detrimental effect for the next homeowner.

On Thursday, 11Alive's Help Desk stepped in to help pick up the pieces. 

After building 35 homes in Hall County, Habitat for Humanity could not believe they would ever see one torn apart.

"I was totally devastated that somebody would come into a Habitat home, any home, but especially a Habitat home, and do this damage. Steal the wire, steel the tools that the kids came to work with, and actually put somebody out who is trying to get a better life," said Richard Akin, President of Habitat for Humanity in Hall County (Georgia).

Moving in to that home was the dream of Sherricka Smith, a single mom with two children.

"This is going to set everything back -- what are they going to do. We just didn't know how long it was going to take to replace everything," she said.

While Ms. Smith and Habitat executives stood outside the house trying to figure out what to do next, the 11Alive Help Desk unveiled its surprise.

"There is somebody here who is going to do all the work for you. They are going to provide the tools; they are going to provide the people and they are going to do the work," said 11Alive's Bill Liss.

The Home Depot stepped forward to join the Help Desk with the project.

"We are going to have our people come in and set up. Our people will come and help you guys. Even in the spring when you get ready to lay out your landscaping we will come in and help out in that too," said Ronnie Hammett of The Home Depot in Gainesville.

Coming from Home Depot will be skilled craftsmen and thousands of dollars in tools and equipment.

"I am very happy, very much happy that everything got back rolling and I am so grateful to Home Depot and Channel 11 for making this happen for me. Thank you so much, it's a blessing, "Smith said.

Home Depot estimates the work will take about a week to complete. Habitat Hall County is also looking for tool donations. For more information, visit their website or call 678-450-5998.

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