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MCKINNEY - One of McKinney's most treasured citizens is homeless.

Black mold forced 83-year-old Ruby Green, affectionately known around town as "Miss Ruby," out of her home. Now, her community is reaching out to help.

From the floors to the walls, Green's house is filled with mold. The mold has made the home musty, unhealthy and unfit for anyone to live inside.

Green picked cotton as a child before she moved to McKinney. She grew up in an old house on Lively Hill.

"I lived in a tin house," she said.

In 2001, she still lived in that tin house when a North Collin County Habitat for Humanity volunteer discovered she had no running water, even though the water line was a few feet from her front door.

Habitat razed the dilapidated house and moved Ruby into a donated manufactured home on the same property. After 12 years, it too fell into disrepair from a water leak.

"The pipe underneath the plumbing has been chewed on by rats," said Celeste Cox, executive director for North Collin County Habitat for Humanity. "And they made tiny, tiny holes that caused it to spew out."

The mold likely played a role in Ruby's declining health. She has suffered from a series of upper respiratory infections and had to move out of the house. Her caring neighbors across the street took her in and now Habitat will help again. This time, they will build her a three-bedroom house on the same lot.

"I'm just so happy," she said. "I cried when they said they were going to build me one, just like a baby."

Ruby's eyes have seen a lot in her 83 years. In a few months, they will gaze upon a brand new house and another opportunity for a new life.

"She's had a very hard life," Cox said. "She deserves it. People like this deserve a decent place to live."

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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