The Brick and Mortar
~Love Conquers All: The Moore Sistersâ€™ Houston Habitat Journey~ By Dave Daniels
In the summer of 2004, I got to meet the Moore's - a family of three, who had successfully applied for, and were admitted into the Houston Habitat home ownership program. Fraternal twins Nelda and Janie Moore were raising Neldaâ€™s 15-year-old daughter Gina, in a garage apartment. They endured this garage apartment - that had no air conditioning, nor heat - for nine years. Though their garage apartment was extremely difficult for Janie and Nelda, both coping with MS, it was particularly hazardous for Gina. Gina, 14-years old at the time, suffered grand mal seizures as a result of this unhealthy living environment. Several times, Janie told me, Gina was rushed to the emergency room, suffering several life-and-death close calls. I recall Janie and Nelda telling us that in the winter they slept with layers of clothes and two-pair of socks on while sleeping and that they could see their breath. Summertime was like living in a chicken coop - hot and miserable. However, I never heard Janie or Nelda say a cross or unkind word regarding their negligent landlord. I also never saw the Moore's shake hands with anyone; they hugged everybody. When you met any of the Moore family, you felt loved. Janie and Nelda cleaned homes for a living. They never complained about the physical demands of their work - only expressed gratitude "to be able to help people." I remember how the "sisters" took great joy in bringing homemade baked goods to the Houston Habitat offices, so that our staff had some special treats. Houston Habitat requires Partner Families - those in the home ownership program - to invest a minimum of 300-hours of sweat equity. This includes working on the homes of others as well as their own home. Additionally, families receive training in home maintenance and simple budgeting, as well as pay the closing costs associated with the home. Among the memories cherished of our time partnering with the Moore's, one occurred on the second day of their home's construction. My role included arriving at the jobsite pre-dawn to prepare tables, chairs and tents for the corporate sponsor volunteer group slatted to arrive after sunup. Day #1 was the day before, a Friday.
The Moore Sisters’ Houston Habitat Journey (cont’d.) Day #1 volunteers raise the walls. These walls are framed wood-studs, making the home entirely translucent. As I dragged the tables, etc. into position, Janie walked up from nowhere. She greeted me with her customary bear-hug. Before I could ask her where she had come from, she told me that she and Nelda and Gina had all spent the night on the jobsite. As Day #2 was to begin in a couple of hours, I knew there was no roof on the home, but Janie told how she and Nelda and Gina all slept on the concrete floor. I recall her saying that they “…looked up at the [night] stars, and were so grateful to God for their beautiful, brand-new Habitat home." Without missing a beat, she added: "And, Dave, we all slept in the closet because we've never had a closet before!" I later watched Janie and Nelda hug each volunteer who arrived to build on their home that day. The "sisters" learned that their next-door-neighbor was a single father of three little girls. He, too, was working sweat equity hours on his home under construction. This gentleman worked the allnight shift, and was struggling to cope with the sudden passing of his young wife months earlier. Janie and Nelda worked extra hours to help this new neighbor. They also helped other partner families achieve hours. We estimate the Moore's contributed in excess of 600-sweat equity hours. I recall their pride in raising the requisite $1,000+ of closing costs associated with their home. They sold many of their belongings and pushed themselves to work extra cleaning jobs – all without a whimper, and while extolling their gratitude to God and Houston Habitat. Since the Moore's moved into their new Houston Habitat for Humanity home, Gina never suffered again from grand mal seizures. Janie and Nelda's health stabilized. They told me that their landlord was sorry to see them leave, and mentioned that he then decided to fix and upgrade that old garage apartment necessary work he had never bothered with in the nine years the Moore's were tenants. Gina is the success story. Seemingly overnight her health stabilized, and with a clean, safe place to do homework, Gina excelled in school. She earned a scholarship to attend Texas A&M at Corpus Christi. Gina became the first in her family to graduate from college. She is now a second grade school teacher living in Austin, TX. She is engaged to a fellow teacher, and credits all her success to the opportunity to live and thrive in a Habitat home. As far as I know, the Moore sisters still hug everyone they meet. Dave Daniels is a Corporate Relations Manager at Houston Habitat for Humanity
~Houston Habitat Goes Global~ January found our Executive Director, Allison Hay, hard at work taking on the first Executive Directors Global Village challenge of building in the Dominican Republic. The trip was designed to explore the innovative work in the Dominican Republic and gain a better understanding of Habitat’s involvement in developing countries. They learned about Habitat Dominican Republic’s repair and microfinance programs. The group mixed concrete, poured slab floor, laid brick, installed window frames and painted interiors and exteriors. Allison was honored to help and felt that it was indeed “time well spent!”
Habitat for Humanity International deploys volunteers and affiliate staff throughout the Latin America and Caribbean region bringing their time, energy and resources to work alongside Habitat partners. Global Village trips are short-term service trips for volunteers to actively engage with Habitat for Humanity's mission worldwide. Allison working on Franklin’s house laying brick.
In Los Alcarrizos at Margarita’s house – the team mixed LOTS of concrete for her new roof
On trips, volunteers will: • Build decent, affordable shelter or work on housing rehabilitation, water/sanitation, or other projects to improve the living conditions for families abroad. • Learn about development challenges while contributing to Habitat's work to eliminate poverty housing. • Partner with families, international or domestic HFH staff, local volunteers, and construction experts of all different backgrounds, races, and religions. • Spend time with a host community and learn about their culture and daily lives in order to better understand the context in which you are building. • Raise awareness and resources to support your host country. To learn more, visit http://www.habitat.org/gv
~MLK Day of Service in District D~ On January 15th 2015, Houston Habitat for Humanity set out to help 7 senior homeowners with some much needed repairs. With support from the Seniors Assistance Fund, Inc., the work was be done in Houston’s District D.
Many thanks to Councilman Dwight Boykins, the volunteer groups from Woodforest National Bank, University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and Carnegie Vanguard School!
3750 N. McCarty St. Houston, TX 77029
Houston Habitat for Humanity, with community minded sponsors and volunteers, has built almost 1,000 homes with hard-working, low-income Houstonians in mind. Habitat Partner Families contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” including financial and home ownership training in helping to build their own homes. They purchase their homes with zero-interest mortgages. For more information about Houston Habitat for Humanity and the Houston Habitat ReStore – a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center open to the public, go to www.houstonhabitat.org, or call 713671-9993. Houston Habitat for Humanity is a tax-exempt 501(C) (3) nonprofit organization. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.