CAMDEN (WPVI) --Army veteran Janne Dawson was beside herself Friday as she toured the newly renovated home in Camden she's moving in to. After a year of being homeless and staying with friends and relatives, she and her 7-year-old son will have a place to call their own.
"I'm just appreciative that I can call something home. I can turn my own key. I can lay down. I'm going to school to become a nurse so I can live out my dream and be comfortable," said Dawson of Camden.
Dawson's dream is a reality after a group of South Jersey contractors purchased a rundown row house on Thurman Street in Camden. They renovated the three-bedroom house from top to bottom, relying almost entirely on donated supplies and labor.
"It took a year and a half because it was all volunteers, and we fit it in when we can and we made it work," said Gary Smith, project organizer.
"You couldn't give it to a better person," said Kenny DiCamillo, Platinum Construction. "A vet that protects us all the time. So we in return give her something nice."
Dawson is a nursing student at Camden County College and will rent to own through a partnership between Catholic charities and the Community Asset Preservation Corporation.
"The idea is to keep this going," said Mark Taylor, Catholic Charities Veteran Services. "Take the funding, put it into other homes and do the same thing for other families."
The contractors say when they first began work, some of the neighbors looked at them skeptically, but over time accepted them and welcomed the work they were doing.
"I have no words," said Dawson. "All I can say is thank you so much."
Dawson's sister Gevonna, and her daughter will also be living in the home, too. And thanks to some kindhearted contractors, Dawson is no longer homeless, and will soon own a home of her own.