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Habitat heroes restore ‘purple rock’

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Constance Edness's house at the peak of Billy Goat Hill is now restored as “the purple rock”, courtesy of the charity Habitat for Humanity.

“Now I can sit on my porch with a smile,” said Mrs Edness of her home, painted purple in homage to her son Paul's idol, the late singer Prince.

Her Warwick home is among eight properties spruced up so far this year by the group, which brings together a team of young construction workers to fix homes where people struggle financially.

Clients are referred through the Coalition for the Protection of Children, with supervisor Hewvonnie Brown overseeing the team.

In Mrs Edness's case, her house remained damaged from the hurricanes of 2014.

Although her church brother Derrick Bento pitched in to repair cracks in the walls, Mrs Edness, 75, worried that it looked “derelict”.

“They did an immaculate job. I feel like I know them, even though it was the first time in my life that I have seen them. Mr Brown and his crew were so nice — I will be singing their praises.”

One Pembroke resident, who preferred not to give her name, fought back tears as she described Habitat for Humanity's extensive work on her North Shore Road home.

“I can't even find the words to describe how much it meant for me,” she said. “They're unbelievable people.”

The team gave her much-needed masonry, flooring and carpentry work, arriving on the same day that she lost her mother.

“It was bittersweet — it's been tough, but they have put a smile on my face. They are angels.”

The group's mandate for a year is 12 houses, meaning that Habitat is well on the way to its 2016 goal.

“We have a select group of men with skills in different sites of the field,” Mr Brown said. “We've created a team with electricians, plumbers, masons, tiling. There's nothing we can't accomplish. We provide a steady opportunity for them to enhance their skill set.”

The crew of four to six varies, depending on the jobs.

“We deal with seniors, single mothers, and sometimes we also assist single fathers,” Mr Brown said.

“Not everybody can afford to do work on their house. Sometimes it might be a single father whose money goes into bills and his children. He might have a leak in the roof or a collapsed ceiling. Habitat will come on board and assist.

“We help all different families. That's what makes it so enjoyable — it's almost like you're rescuing someone. A lot of people want to have better houses but just don't have the resources. Us coming in and helping bodes well for Habitat and for the community of Bermuda.

“I'm so excited to work alongside Sheelagh Cooper — she is a trooper for giving and helping people. I'm also excited about the future of Habitat with her and other board members. It's going to be doing some good things in the future.”

Home revamped: Constance Edness beams outside her home, freshly painted by Habitat for Humanity (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
'Now I can sit on my porch with a smile': Constance Edness's home has been restored as 'the purple rock' by the charity Habitat for Humanity (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Purple rock: Habitat for Humanity's latest job at Billy Goat Hill, Warwick (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published August 17, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 17, 2016 at 7:31 am)

Habitat heroes restore ‘purple rock’

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