This week, HCD and builder Burghli Homes were delighted to help Ms. Mary Nash move into her home, which was newly rebuilt through the Harvey Homeowner Assistance Program. Ms. Nash’s home was leaking and at risk of flooding further, since it was low to the ground. During Hurricane Harvey, the problems became even more serious. The City of Houston worked with Ms. Nash to help her make these key repairs and plan ahead, building her house on an elevated foundation and with sustainable building practices.
“I want to express my thanks to the many people that had a part in my home; the project coordinator, construction team, and builders/contractors,” wrote Ms. Nash in a letter she sent a few weeks before moving in. “My new house is beautiful…I cannot wait to see the end result.” A self-described “country girl” proud of her neighborhood of Pinemont Plaza in Acres Homes, she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Most of the homeowners who apply to our Harvey Homeowner Assistance Program have a similar perspective: their homes are a major source of stability and help build intergenerational wealth. Severe weather threatens that stability – and with home prices rising drastically relative to wages across the city, a replacement isn’t an option for many people. Ms. Nash relates her particular situation as a new beginning: “When I bought my home, I bought an old home,” she explains. “This is the first time I’ve had something where I can say, ‘this is mine.’ No one else has lived here.”
On her move-in day, October 14, 2020, Ms. Nash has many features of the home she can’t get enough of. The kitchen and the bedroom, she says, are the most important to her, as those are the spaces where she feels most at home. As we tour the home, she points out the ways in which the rebuild helps her life get easier, especially as she gets older. “I had knee surgery last year, and I had to go out and buy one of those chairs that you put in the tub,” she recalls, inspecting the guardrails and fold-down shower-seat that are pre-installed in her new bathroom. “So now…I’m going to have to donate that chair.” The updated appliances and modernized options create new options as well. “I’m a country girl,” she explains, “I always hand-wash my dishes. 78 years. But now…I’m going to get my daughter to show me how to work that dishwasher.”
It is a priority of the Harvey Homeowner Assistance Program to work homeowners through every stage of the process. Our eligibility and construction teams follow-up and meet homeowners where they are at – even if that means driving across town to personally help walk them through the sometimes-complicated documents required. “I have been treated with kindness and respect,” writes Ms. Nash, going on to shout out members of HCD’s team, the team at Burghli Homes, and the team at BakerRipley, who is assisting our program with case management services. It’s this community care and personalized attention to homeowners that allows our program to move towards a truly equitable long-term recovery for Houstonians.
Read Ms. Nash’s mid-construction letter to the team, and enjoy these photos of her home’s construction and finished product!