The Allen family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

The Allen family

Waiting to dance

Gail and Barrington Allen have spent most of their lives in Annapolis. They moved into public housing 12 years ago after losing the house they owned.

“If we had known about refinancing or had other information, we might still have that home. But we just didn’t know what to do.” Gail Allen said.

She found out about Habitat from a staff member with the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis, she said, because “we were paying a lot of rent–$700 per month–and we always paid our rent on time.”

The Allens were quickly approved for Habitat’s homeownership program, and Barrington has been working on several different build sites to earn “sweat-equity” hours using construction skills that he acquired while building houses as a young man. He works for a security company guarding the commercial district at the new Towne Center at Parole. His wife works at Bay Woods of Annapolis, where she cares for dementia patients.

“You have to be strong and patient to care for these elderly people,” she said. “Some of my patients want to follow me home at the end of the day.”

The Allens love camping and fishing. Each year they camp for the week and fish the rivers of Spotsylvania County in rural Virginia. “This past summer we didn’t get to go because we were working so hard. But I know we will go next summer,” Gail said. She also expects Barrington’s brother to tie his boat up in College Creek when they move to their new home on Clay Street. Gail remembers fishing and crabbing in the creek when she was a little girl. “I know when we move he will say, ‘I’m going to bring my boat over so Barrington and I can go fishing.’”

The Allens cannot wait to move to their new home. “We just wanted something we could call our own,” Gail said. “Something we could put our effort into, and one day our daughter or grandkids can take it over.”

Granddaughter Zikia, 12, and grandson Jerry, 14, will share their new home, along with the Allens’ 28-year-old son, Tracey.

“I have been praying about this home every night and talking to my pastor about it on Sundays. I can’t wait to tell everyone at church that things are really moving forward now. It will be wonderful to share this blessing,” Gail said.

When she imagines her new home, Gail said, “I just keep thinking on the house and how happy I will be to get the keys and call it mine. It may overwhelm me when I open the front door for the first time. I think I will be dancing.”