Federal Stimulus Funds At Work

It is an investment in human capital. Houston Habitat for Humanity dedicates the first 11 of 17 homes in the historic Fifth Ward. They're being built with Houston's allocation of federal stimulus funds. Pat Hernandez has more.

Roderick Butler joined his neighbors on the porch of his new home in 5th Ward, waiting to cut the ribbon. He says going from being a renter to homeowner in the neighborhood he grew up in felt good.

“Yes, I was born about 2 miles down the street. I look to stay here a long time.”

Houston Habitat for Humanity was recently chosen by the City of Houston to receive more than 1.4-million dollars in funds from the Federal Stimulus Plan.

Jim Noteware is director of the city’s Housing and Community Development Department. He says the project is much more than providing housing for deserving families.

“It’s about transforming blighted lots, blighted neighborhoods, into productive communities. There is so much discussion about financial capital today, that it seems to dwarf the reality of the importance of human capital, and the need to continue to invest in that human capital.”
Algenita Scott Davis, executive director of Houston Habitat for Humanity, says the funds are specified for revitalization of Houston’s neighborhoods.

“This is stimulus money in action. So, it resulted in homes for our families, it resulted in jobs for the plumber, for the electrician, for the people who actually work on the homes. But most importantly, it will result in the change in lives, for the families that will live in there.”

Davis says through the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties, Houston Habitat was able to add 17 new homes in the 5th Ward. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Houston Habitat They’re located in Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s district.

“The most exciting part for me is to see a child go into his or her room and say I can do my homework. And that’s what federal funds are. Federal funds are to build the economy for the local economy. These new homes will pay taxes, HISD taxes. They will pay county taxes. They will pay city taxes and they will help grow this neighborhood. These will not be abandoned homes, they will be thriving homes.”

Kimberly Womack is returning to the neighborhood as a homeowner.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m overjoyed. I’m just…I don’t know. But I was born and raised in 5th Ward. My mother was raised, my grandmother lived here, my great-grandmother. So there’s generation, and to be able to come back. When they told me, I just cried. It’s like…it was meant to be. God is blessing me and He’s bringing me back home.”

Since 1987, Houston Habitat for Humanity has built over 850 homes for more than 28-hundred deserving families.      

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