Can you pitch in? Community’s help needed to save Orlando woman’s home

Company commits to donating roof, finds home needs much more work

Last week, the City of Orlando was weeks away from condemning Theresa DeFairia’s home.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Last week, the City of Orlando was weeks away from condemning Theresa DeFairia’s home.

After seeing her story on News 6, a local roofing company came forward and offered to donate a brand new roof.

When DeFairia found out Noland’s Roofing was willing to donate a new roof, she said it was music to her ears.

But what came next was not.

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“The Lord said, ‘Listen, Theresa, and don’t get upset,’” DeFairia told News 6.

When Justin Shelton, with Noland’s Roofing, surveyed the property, he quickly realized it needed much more than a new roof.

“There’s a lot of structural damage to the main structural beams,” Shelton said. “It certainly was a lot more than I anticipated."

Not only is there a failing roof with permanent tarps, there is rotting wood, fragile floors and unstable trusses.

DeFairia lives on disability assistance and social security. It’s enough to pay the mortgage but not much else. Over time, the home has slipped into what most people would consider an uninhabitable condition.

District 5 Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill grew up in the same Orlando neighborhood.

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“We’re going to have to take all the walls out. We are going to have to gut the place,” Hill said.

Hill worked with code enforcement to freeze the Oct. 20 date to condemn the property.

Now Hill is putting out the call for companies and organizations to donate time, material and labor to repair the home.

“We are a united Orlando and when we stand together, here in Orlando, miraculous things happen,” Hill said.

The woman who everyone affectionately calls Ms. Theresa says that was all she needed to hear.

“When I heard that, you saw me walk away,” she said. “I didn’t stay no longer because I heard hope and when I hear hope, to me, God is speaking to my spirit, and saying ‘Theresa, its gonna be alright. It’s gonna be alright.'”

Noland’s Roofing can’t do the job alone. It is going to take many donations and several volunteers.

The first thing they need is a structural engineer to do a full report to assess what the home needs.

If you’d like to help Ms. Theresa, you can contact Commissioner Regina Hill with the City of Orlando. If you would like to donate, DeFairia has a GoFundMe page.

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning reporter Louis Bolden joined the News 6 team in September of 2001 and hasn't gotten a moment's rest since. Louis has been a General Assignment Reporter for News 6 and Weekend Morning Anchor. He joined the Special Projects/Investigative Unit in 2014.