To Rebecca Crawford, the idea of giving away a home doesn’t seem so extraordinary.
“It’s time for somebody else to enjoy it,” said Crawford, a nurse at New Hampshire Hospital.
After serving in the military, Crawford found herself a divorced, single parent living in Philadelphia. She was working as a nursing assistant at the VA there, but craved more stability for herself and her family. In 1990, she found out about Habitat for Humanity and applied for housing.
“There’s a whole process,” she said. “They interview you and come out to see where you’re living, then they decide which families they’re going to take.
“They chose me, and that’s how I got my house,” Crawford said.
But Habitat doesn’t just give you a house. You have to earn it, and Crawford certainly earned hers.
“I worked nights at the VA, then I’d go work all day for Habitat,” she said. “I had to work 500 hours of ‘sweat equity.’ ”
She hung drywall and installed joists, did office work and babysat children of other Habitat volunteers who were in the same boat as her. That process took her 10 months, usually getting around four and a half hours sleep a day.
“It was a lot of work, but my goal was that I needed a place for my kids to call home,” she said.
The stability of a home allowed her to go to school for nursing. She moved to NH in 2003 and has been here since, working mostly at NH Hospital with a one-year stint working at the State Prison mixed in.
She eventually was able to buy a home here in NH in 2010, but she still had the house in Philadelphia. This hard-working nurse knew just what she wanted to do: she gave her home back to Habitat.
“I’m blessed by what I do have — not that I’m rich — but I just want somebody to be blessed and have a home,” she said. “That is my wish, that someone would treasure my home and enjoy it as much as i did.”
Habitat made the process pretty simple for her, drawing up all the paperwork. “I didn’t even have to go down there,” she said.
“The only request I had was that whoever gets the house, I would like to be there when they get the keys,” Crawford said.
Ultimately, Crawford just wanted to pass on her blessings to someone else.
“I love my house, I love my job … I’m blessed,” she said. “I’ve come from being homeless to being on top of the world.”
You can learn more about Habitat for Humanity at its website, www.habitat.org.