‘All I can say is hallelujah:’ Nearly condemned, Orlando woman’s home being rebuilt thanks to donations

Community rallies behind Ms. Theresa

Theresa DeFairia, or more commonly known just as Ms. Theresa, is getting a new home after receiving donations and community support that paid for construction, which broke ground this week.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Theresa DeFairia, or more commonly known as Ms. Theresa, is one step closer to getting a new home. Construction crews have completed extensive demo work, replaced trusses, shored up the foundation and started framing the walls on her 1940s home.

News 6 shared her story last year after the City of Orlando was set to condemn her property.

After the story aired, Defaria received donations and community support that paid for construction, which broke ground in March.

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The journey to rebuild DeFairia’s home on Pershing Place started with Orange Avenue Construction saying that they’re happy to do the work, but it will be done in phases to keep costs low.

DeFaira is getting a fresh start. She said she is blessed.

“All I can say is hallelujah, thank you Jesus, because God saved the best for last and they came knowing what they were doing so breaking that ground, honey just made me happy,” DeFairia said.

She will be out of her home until construction is done, but Orange Avenue Construction owner Anthony Roy said it’ll be worth the wait.

When Theresa DeFairia moved into her Orlando home 31 years ago, it was the neighborhood that sealed the deal.

“Theresa has been living here for I don’t know how many years, but to be able to put her back in this house at the end that’s going to be a good feeling. I’m looking forward to it,” Roy said.

Roy said the project is in his wheelhouse. To keep costs low, he is approaching this in phases.

“We’re trying to make lemonade out of lemons right now,” Roy said. “It’s a challenging job. We’re trying to work with what’s here.”

Estimated costs to fully rebuild are around $100,000, according to Roy.

It’s all be handled by the housing department with the city of Orlando and paired with numerous donations, it’s left DeFairia thankful for the support.

Theresa DeFairia, or more commonly known as Ms. Theresa, is one step closer to getting a new home. Construction crews have completed extensive demo work, replaced trusses, shored up the foundation and started framing the walls on her 1940s home.

“As long as you got that village behind you and God is with that village, you ain’t got to worry about nothing, they going to try you and try you but as long as you stay strong with God that village is going to work,” she said.

Due to the project being done in phases, builders said there is no set time for the project to be completed. Roy said there are enough funds to get the home sealed up and under a dry roof. He thinks that should happen in the next few weeks. More money will be needed before Ms. Theresa can move back in but once it’s done DeFairia will essentially have a brand-new home.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help cover some of the costs.


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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.