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Habitat home becomes launching pad building a brighter future for Bryan resident

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 11:38 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Every family needs a strong foundation to build a brighter future. Habitat for Humanity partners with low-income families to help build a better life for themselves and their families.

But, these homes are not given away. Recipients invest sweat equity by building their homes and the homes of others. Each family also participates in financial literacy courses that will help put them on the road to success.

Janice Ellis knows first-hand the benefits and hard work it takes to be a Habitat for Humanity home recipient. For many, owning a home is the American dream but for Janice owning a home meant she could provide a better life for her children. Janice, a mother of three, was a teen mother living in a not-so-desirable neighborhood nearly three decades ago. She says applying was one of the best decisions she ever made.

“At the time, I was living in an apartment, and it was a lot of crime, a lot of negative activities. A lot of it was just really unsafe for my family and me,” said Janice. " It was a great feeling. I was excited. I was happy. I was proud because I was a young teen mom and having the opportunity to be able to become a homeowner and to have my own home and in a safe environment. That was just the best feeling ever.”

Janice says helping build her home from the ground up was a rewarding experience.

“I had to put in sweat equity. I think it was $500 at the time. My family, friends, and I would come out and help work on the site to build my home. At the time, the home was in College Station, and we had to put in all those hours. And actually, it was quite exciting, and I learned a lot, and I was just so thankful and happy that I was able to be a participant in the habitat program,” said Janice.

Janice has since sold her first home and purchased a new home with her husband, Floyd. She says her first home buying process with Habitat for Humanity set the foundation for her to purchase the home of her dreams.

“I stayed in that home for over 25 years. I was blessed to be able to pay that home off and be able to get me another home, which is the one I’m in now, and I plan to be here forever,” said Janice. “It just gave me that sense of pride and a responsibility to be able to continue to work and pay my bills and be a good citizen of the community and do the right thing and try to make a better life for my family and me.”

Floyd says he’s a witness to how the Habitat for Humanity program can change a person’s outlook on life.

“There was a lot of dedication she put into owning a home because it was such a desire. It actually helped her to reach her position in life. She often talks about how she feels that it has developed her perception of life itself,” said Floyd. “She understands that a lot of people are having a hard time and the blessing that Habitat was for her is truly a blessing. She understands the magnificence of what Habitat did for her, and she really appreciates it.”

Floyd says life-changing opportunities don’t happen often and should be treasured.

“Having a Habitat home can be a stepping stone for you to own even a better home. So I would advise anybody that gets the opportunity to be a habitat recipient, to cherish it and take advantage.”

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