Charity to rebuild five Queens homes

Charity to rebuild five Queens homes
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Christina Santucci

When 9-year-old Maya Tsou looks at the shell of a house being renovated on 132nd Road in Rosedale, she sees beyond the construction. In her mind, she envisions her future bedroom with an art studio, a music center, a science exploration area and a loft bed.

But the best of the bunch, she believes, is the reading center.

“It will be a place for me to study,” she said, while standing inside what will soon become the home’s garage Saturday afternoon. “It will be very quiet and nice.”

Maya and her family are slated to move into one of five now rundown Queens homes, which will get a major overhaul by Habitat for Humanity New York City along with 10 Hurricane Sandy-wrecked homes on Staten Island as part of the 2013 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project next month.

Over the weekend, the Tsou family attended a rainy groundbreaking for the project.

“A little bit over 20 years ago, both me and my wife came from very different countries and were living in New York for a better life and in search of the American Dream,” Billy Tsou told the crowd gathered on what will soon be his front lawn. “Unfortunately, owning a home in New York City for someone who simply has a job is just not possible for a lot of working-class families.”

Billy Tsou said he heard about Habitat for Humanity through his church, which partnered with the group for volunteer projects.

“We are very privileged and very grateful,” Billy Tsou said.

The Tsou family of four currently lives in a one-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side, where his wife Anna Tsou has lived for the past 18 years. The couple has a 2-month-old son named Layne.

“I moved in. We got married and we made a family,” said Billy Tsou.

Maya gushed about how the family’s dog will be able to live with them, instead of her grandmother, once they move into the Rosedale home.

“First of all, I won’t have to sleep in the living room,” she said.

Billy Tsou estimated that their apartment was about one-fourth to one-third of the space in the new house.

“We see a lot of potential and a lot of growth in our family here,” he said.

Reach Managing Editor Christina Santucci by phone at 718-260-4589 or by email at [email protected].

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