No Place Like Home
Story by William J. Gibbs Jr., Beeville Bee-Picayune.
*Note – Home repair activities featured in the article below were made possible through a funding award from the TDHCA HOME Homeowner Rehabilitation Program to the City of Tynan.
TYNAN – Two Cockade Street residents are the proud residents of one of four new Bee County homes recently built through the HOME Program.
The Resios’ eldest daughter, Yolanda Landis, was among the family members on hand to wish her parents well in their new abode. She spoke of the poor quality water that came from the former home’s well, and how the couple had to purchase potable water to drink.
“So we never had a washer/dryer,” she said. “We used to go to Orange Grove to the laundromat. But they don’t drive anymore.”
Not only does the Resios’ new home have modern, energy-efficient appliances including a washing machine and dryer, it also has something the couple never has had in their 62 years of marriage — central air-conditioning.
Donna M. Johnson, director of housing programs for GrantWorks Inc. — the county’s grant writing consultants — said the house built by Conroe-based RM Quality Construction includes double-pane windows and fiber-cement siding so that its occupants will keep their utility bills low.
Furthermore, it is one story with 36-inch wide hallways and doorways, which are helpful to 77-year-old Maria, who recently underwent knee surgery and uses a walker.
“It’s designed so [Manuel and Maria] can stay in the home longer,” Johnson said.
The Resios were allowed to select the colors for the cabinet finishes, laminate flooring and interior and exterior paint. However, 80-year-old Manuel proudly stated that he left those details to his wife.
Silvas, who was impressed with the finished home when she was treated to a tour, believes the newest house on the block could prompt other residents to spruce up their properties.
“Any time you have improvement in a community, it’s contagious,” she said.
For Maria, the house is the product of nine years of determination, hope and prayers. Knowing that she and her husband were unable to rehabilitate their home, Maria applied for income-based assistance through the HOME Program, but repeatedly was turned down. Johnson said this was because, initially, the program only allowed for $25,000 worth of renovations, but the Resios’ home needed far more work.
But recent changes in the program — about which Maria said she learned by reading the Bee-Picayune — have allowed grant recipients to receive $85,000 worth of demolition and rebuilding services. Johnson said the only catch is that the owners must have a clear title and are required to reside in the home for five years after the work is completed.
As she smiled while fighting back tears, Maria gleefully said, “I used to pray, ‘Lord, am I not going to get a house? Am I not going to get to remodel my home before I die?’ And He did it!”
Shortly after getting selected for the program, Maria was hospitalized for her surgery. She recalls filling out some of the necessary paperwork from her hospital bed. Upon coming home, she and Manuel had to reside elsewhere while the months long construction commenced. Family friend Mando Cavazos offered the use of his deceased parents’ former home, which is nearby.
“And he didn’t charge them rent,” Landis said. “The neighbors helped move them out of their old house and into the other house. It was a community effort, too.”
The Resios’ house is one of four Bee County residences recently completed thanks to the HOME Program. Other residents also receiving the keys to their houses Aug. 11 were:
- Julia Ramos, who resides in the Blueberry Hill community west of Beeville
- Angelica Garza, who resides on County Road 406 east of Beeville
- Louis Herrera, who resides in the city limits of Beeville.
Johnson added that there are other homes being built because of the program in various areas of Bee County.
The HOME Program is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.*
* HUD provides HOME funds to TDHCA through an annual formula grant. The Department awards these funds to eligible applicants, such as the City of Tynan, which expends the funds at the local level to expand the supply of decent, affordable housing.
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HOME Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance Program