January 30, 2020 by HCDE-Texas
Two years after suffering a huge loss, Harris County Department of Education Head Start employee Adriane Marks has reason to smile. She will soon be able to call herself a homeowner thanks to Habitat for Humanity and KPRC Channel 2.
“I always knew I wanted to be a homeowner,” she said. “I thought I would have to get a realtor and do the regular process but didn’t think it was going to happen like this.”
In August 2017, she lost all her possessions in the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. At the time, she and her family were living in her father’s house and still paying on it.
The HCDE Head Start Data Compliance Specialist, who checks to make sure children are eligible for the head start program, was overwhelmed with the support her coworkers offered after she and her family were displaced.
“My managers provided me with hair products, HCDE donated money to those of us affected by Harvey and Head Start Senior Director Venetia Peacock took us to her church’s clothing drive,” Marks said. “My kids were very thankful for the clothes.”
After living in a hotel for about four months, they couldn’t afford to move back into the house because the payments went up after the flood renovation. They stayed with family afterwards then started renting a house, but now the rent is cost-prohibited.
Marks filled out the Habitat for Humanity application in September 2019 and found out the next month when KPRC surprised her. This is the seventh house in east Houston for the news station.
“I was at a loss for words when they told me, but I am ecstatic,” she said. “My kids are very excited and are ready to move in.”
Applicants write a letter as to why they are a fit for the program by meeting one of four criteria. A panel of current habitat homeowners reads the letters and chooses the recipient based on the story.
Marks has an 11-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. The house they are currently renting is behind a convenience store that gets robbed almost weekly, and she doesn’t feel safe there anymore.
To participate in the program, each recipient must volunteer back through sweat equity hours by helping build other houses or at the ReStore center. Candidates also complete financial counseling.
“My family and friends are also able to volunteer hours to show support for me during this process and it means a lot,” she said.
The work on her new home started about three weeks ago and she hopes to close on it at the end of April. Her house will be 1,206 square feet and consist of three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a one-car garage.
In the meantime, Marks is preparing for her new house by furniture shopping and completing her sweat equity hours.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity, visit HoustonHabitat.org.
To view videos of Marks’s surprise and the home building process, visit https://bit.ly/2O1pih9.