Habitat for Humanity helps to revitalize the Fifth Ward

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by Vicente Arenas / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 26 at 6:20 PM

HOUSTON – A woman who lived in a shotgun house for most of her life was all smiles showing her new modern home.

“It’s home!” said Latricia St. Jules. She and her children were one of 11 families showing off their new Habitat for Humanity homes in the Fifth Ward Thursday.

The organization was dedicating the homes in the neighborhood in northeast Houston.

Marguerite Latson also moved into a new home and thanked the crowd from her wheelchair. Until now, Latson had rented the same home for more than 50 years.

The Habitat for Humanity home was her first home.

“I just always wanted a backyard fenced in… where I can just have my flowers,” Latson said.

Habitat for Humanity, Wells Fargo Bank and the city of Houston teamed up to build the 11 homes. The organizations worked together to turn abandoned lots and properties in new homes.

“It’s not just about Fifth Ward. It’s about creating opportunities and creating wealth in different neighborhoods,” Habitat for Humanity’s Sheila Frye said.

Deon Sanders thought he’d never have the chance to own a home.

“The only thing I thought I’d be able to achieve was to live apartment to apartment,” Sanders said.

People with low to moderate incomes qualify for the program. Potential homeowners must also volunteer 300 hours to help build their home and work on other projects as well.

Habitat for Humanity provides home loans with zero interest. St. Jules' home has four bedrooms and sold for $75,000.

Wells Fargo provided grant money to help with down payments and closing costs on the 11 homes.

Habitat for Humanity has built 28 homes in the Fifth Ward in the past several years. The organization said it has built 930 homes in Houston and there are plans to build many more.

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