Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

You Gotta Have Faith

Jorge Reyes, TDHCA, 7/12/11

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Ellis Family, Taylor TX
HOME Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance Program
Photo: Jorge Reyes

Peter and Veronica Ellis needed a place to live. And with two kids, Joshua and Melody, that need was magnified even greater. Unfortunately, their housing options in Williamson County were limited because of Peter’s health issues and Veronica’s full time student status. They did, however, have an abundance of one thing: faith. Peter and Veronica always had faith that a home they could afford would come their way. And sure enough, it did. Veronica’s sister sold them a small rental property in Taylor which they secured at an affordable cost.

And while the home itself was indeed a blessing, it also brought along a new set of, shall we say, faith “challenges.”

“The floors were not leveled at all. If you placed a ball on the living room floor, it would roll to one side. The kitchen was the same way”, said Veronica. “The windows wouldn’t close right. You could see daylight come through the doors.”

“Every month and a half I would have to fix the doors so they would lock right because the house kept shifting”, remembers Peter. “There were also holes in the walls, the roof leaked every time it rained, and in winter it got too cold and in the summer it got too hot. You name it, it was wrong.”

Regardless of all the disrepair the Ellis Family had faith things would get better. And sure enough, they did thanks to a program administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).

While reading her local paper one day, Veronica saw a story about the City of Taylor’s home rehabilitation program, a federal housing program funded through TDHCA’s HOME Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance Program, which rehabilitates or reconstructs owner-occupied housing. Veronica and her husband quickly went down to city hall and filled out an application.

“We had nothing to lose and everything to gain”, says Veronica. “The worse that could happen was that they’d say ‘no.’ We could live with that. We couldn’t live with not trying at all.”

Again, Peter and Veronica left it in the hands of faith.

At the time, the City of Taylor was one of the first HOME contract administrators to access Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance Program funds using a reservation system. The new reservation system allows a HOME contract administrator to serve individual families as the need arises without a contractual obligation to assist a predetermined number of families. Peter and Veronica met all program requirements and the city was quickly able to access the HOME funds to rebuild their home.

Peter, Veronica, Joshua, and Melody moved into their new home in early June.

“We are truly blessed”, says Peter. “We had faith things would work out for us but we still can’t believe it. In our wildest dreams we never thought we’d get a new home!”

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HOME Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance Program