Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

July 19, 2013

'I GUESS THAT THIS MUST BE THE PLACE'

Three households — homes included — receive incredible new living quarters from grant

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE —  As three longtime Jacksonville residents attested Thursday, there's really no place like HOME.

Talking, of course, about the three most recent beneficiaries of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ “HOME” Grant, which allows new houses to be built in place of some of the community’s most economically disadvantaged lodgings.

Renovation of three such homes, at 433 College, 806 Johnson, and 1027 Skyline, was finished this week. The structures were turned over to their owners, authorities said.

City Manager Mo Raissi said these residents are extremely appreciative of the quality of their new homes.

Resident Brenda Davis, 60, received keys to her newly built three-bedroom, one bathroom home from District 2 Councilman Jeff Smith Thursday afternoon.

For Davis it was wonderful news. The city has been working on her home in the 400 block of College since April. And the previous structure was nowhere near the roughly $85,000 value of the new one.

“I really thank God for this,” she said.

Another resident Billy Boyd, 67, was much the same. His home in the 1000 block of Skyline Boulevard also had been completely rebuilt.

Boyd, whose new keys were handed over to him Thursday by Precinct 1 Councilman Hubert Robinson also had a new three-bedroom, one bathroom home built in the $85,000 range.

“I am well-satisfied,” Boyd said with a smile.

The third home to be completely repaired and rebuilt was in the 800 block of North Johnson. It belongs to Helen Jefferson, 74, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville.

Jefferson said she has worked hard all her life to get a three bedroom, one bathroom home such as this.

“It is beautiful,” she told city officials Thursday. “It is so beautiful.”

City officials say the best thing about the new homes for the residents is that is comes to them at absolutely no cost.

These improvements were enacted thanks to the program offered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs that provides quality living accommodations to low-income citizens.

Residents interested in applying for the program have criteria they have to meet. Each family or individual must be within certain income guidelines and have to own the home. Additionally, applicants must be legal residents of the U.S. and there can be no tax liens against the property. Residents cannot have a felony conviction on their records.

Public Works Director Will Cole, said the quality of the homes make them really stand out in the surrounding, more dilapidated, neighborhoods.

And some point in the near future, the next receipts of improved homes will probably be selected, he added.