Houston Habitat for Humanity & Hurricane Harvey – Where did $21,000+ go?


So can you introduce yourself? So my name is Angela Cox and I am the development
director at Houston Habitat for Humanity. We are here in Harold Park which is a 111
home subdivision that we just finished building about four weeks before Harvey hit. This entire subdivision flooded, and we’re
going to go into one of the homes that we have repaired. So here’s a picture that shows you where the
water line was, and there is still water in the house. This is what it looks like when you’re tearing
out all the sheet rock. So you had to tear up the floors. Floors are gone, cabinets, you know sheet
rock. Here’s an example of people’s belongings literally
on the curb. The problem is the water is dirty, so you
really can’t clean your possessions. This is another volunteer, doing the mucking
and gutting. We had schools. The further along, the further out you are,
there’s still thousands of homes in Houston that have not been done. There’s an estimated 6,000 have called for
relief, and low income specific. Where was the water line? In this house it was about right here. About right here. It was totally flooded. You know, we’ve had to remove four feet of
sheet rock, all the way around, all of the insulation, and repair. All the insulation, and all the cabinets. So how much would it cost to build one of
these homes for Habitat for Humanity? To sponsor a home it’s $70,000. Not too bad. And we, of course, have more invested than
that. The average sales price is around $105-$110,000. So does the owner pay Habitat and does Habitat
hold the mortgage, or? So we hold it or we help them with one of
our partners that gives them a very affordable mortgage. Some of our families are able to get down
payment assistance through the generosity of donors, some come through HUD funds, etc. So some are able to get down payment assistance
as well. And of course we have to follow all of the
new mortgage regulations so you know they have to have the right ratios, etc, etc. Or we can’t get it approved, even still with
the mortgage and the taxes, the insurance, these homes are more affordable and require
less monthly income outlay than the apartments that they were living in. Would you state your name and your position
for the camera? I’m Allison Hay, I’m the executive director
for Houston Habitat for Humanity. Angela Cox, development director for Houston
Habitat for Humanity. Cheri Witt-Brown, executive director of Greely
Habitat for Humanity. So if you can just imagine that every house
on this street, every house on that street that you came down to get here, you couldn’t
even get vehicles through here because there was so much debris from people mucking and
gutting, and then just about everybody lost cars, so there were cars that wouldn’t move,
if there had been an emergency, I don’t know how a fire truck could have gotten down here. It wouldn’t have happened. And just you know there’s something that is
just, you can’t describe what it’s like to see all of your stuff that you worked hard
for, and holds the memories, it really chronicles your life out on the street. It’s really hard to talk to them into, so you know the water was three feet, pretty continuous, but you have to take out
4 because of the insulation, but everything on the walls, and the blinds, and the showers,
we said to them if it had water, you have to take it out, we could not get people to
take their pictures off the wall. It’s been very, that been really traumatic. They were like, you’re only doing the bottom,
but we can’t get mold certified, and remember we’re in Houston. This has been a very hard job, because the
sector with hurricanes back to back, plus the fires in Mexico, plus the Puerto Rico
piece, plus the California mudslides, there’s no materials. That’s our thing. So I don’t know God really kind of watched
over us to be able to do what we’re doing. That’s the part that’s kind of cool, but the
work’s pretty darn .. It’s amazing! I can’t tell where the seam is. We were in here Labor day, and international
was taking pictures and I could barely stand to be in here because it was like a bomb had
gone off, and so many personal lives were out there, so we did not like walking the
streets. We did walk the streets because you saw people’s
books and toys. Well Dr. Nguyen, that’s the beauty of Habitat,
because Habitat really does go after it. And we have such a strong volunteer base across
the country. I know we were bringing a team here, and you
know it’s just everybody is willing to just cross over state lines and do whatever they
can do to help, and we experienced the same thing in Colorado a few years back. People would come from Texas up to help us. Thank you. You’re a part of that, but I will say, too,
isn’t that what all of this is about? Is the people in need, and we’re able to say
I have the resources this time, because it all goes back. And that’s the part we were thinking, all
of the people that were helping us from other states, we are very grateful, but we are also
praying that nothing bad happens to them this year. I know it’s been a miracle. I want to tell Dr. Nguyen’s story a little
bit. He called me when? 3-4 hours, not long after everything started
happening here, and he said I want to help, impact the families in Houston, I want to
help through Habitat. And I was like, hey, yeah I’m sure they’ll
be, and I had no idea how much they were going to raise, or what they were going to do, and
then he was on the trip, and when he got back, the staff there continued to raise and do
things, so you know, this represents the generosity of Dr. Nguyen’s first heart and ambition to
want to help out here, and then rallying his whole team. My staff gave their tips for the month of
October for Habitat for Humanity. They work hard all year around, and they do
an amazing job and they work hard for me. I really appreciate them giving up their tips
for a month for Habitat for Humanity. And we also took 5% of all proceeds for the
month of October to give to Habitat for Humanity. So I’m honored to be able to present this
check to you guys. It’s a $21,000 check to you guys for Habitat
for Humanity. I know that this will come in handy in rebuilding
these homes, but I called Cheri right away, and I said I want to help out in any small
way that I can for you guys. And I know that, I know that a lot of families
will be helped out. You know, when I first, when my family first
came to the United States in ’78, we were immigrants from Vietnam. You have a huge Vietnamese population in Houston. I just remember the generosity of the church
and the people that sponsored my family, they set us up in a home, they rented it for us,
they gave us food, clothing, shelter, you know, anything that we needed. They taught us English, it’s just comes full
circle. You are so right, and that’s the way to pay
it forward. That’s what we’re supposed to do. But we just, for our third language, all of
our homeowner services materials are being translated into Vietnamese. We’re missing some opportunities here. But yes, it does come full circle. I’m glad you can see it in your time. I’m glad he comes to give back. That’s, like you said, that’s that beautiful
heart, you know what it’s like to struggle. You’re down, you see someone else pull you
up, give you a chance to make it again, I’m hoping it’s something kids will benefit from,
and give back. I agree with you. I totally agree with you. We see it all the time. I go to Habitat on the Hill, usually have
testimonials, it’s always the child of the homeowner who is saying, you know, because
I had this stable place, I can do this, I can do that, I can exceed all the dreams and
aspirations of my parents. You don’t realize the social services that
are out there that are so beneficial, and it’s not just a handout, it’s really a lifeline
to those people, to get them back on their feet again. I remember there was, when I was a kid, there
was a lady that would come by every week with bread and cheese from the government, you
know Peppridge Farm bread and cheese and this and that, and everything else, and you know
it was that much less money that my family had to spend on other things that, you know,
they had to take care of 10 kids, my parents did. And we were, we all had to get jobs, and learn
English, and this and that, and adjust to American life. It was kind of crazy, but even that little
small amount, we were so excited every week, even though, you know, it wasn’t “Vietnamese
food.” It was sustenance. The thing is that you had a grateful heart. That is wonderful. Ten kids. Your parents were awesome. We came here with nothing, and, you know,
it’s just within six months or a year, everybody was in school or finding jobs or something
like that. And I just know how important social services
are, because I’ve benefited from them, you know when I was young. I remember as a child, if you can imagine
you’re a child, and you’re out of four kids, and you’re living in an apartment building,
with all the noise and the commotion, how are you going to study? How are you going to get ahead? Whereas this is a home that is separate from
everybody else, you actually have a yard to play in, you actually have possibly your own
room, you may or may not share with a brother or sister or something like that. There’s dinner. There’s study.

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