My name is Subrina Robinson. I am the oldest of five children and the mother of two beautiful girls.
As a child, I grew up in a two-bedroom house in the rural area of Nesbitt. At fourteen, we moved to the city of Marshall and I finally had my very own room. I’ve overcome battles with depression and an abusive relationship. I was homeless due to an unexpected house fire in 2012.
After that, I had to choose living situations that were not the safest but affordable. While living in an apartment complex that had been broken into several times, I knew I had to provide my children with a safer environment. I want my children to know that they have a haven to come to whenever times become difficult.
Having the opportunity to become a homeowner without being weighed down by financial burdens is very important to me. Having a home is very crucial because it’s a place where my family will gather to make memories. I am thankful for the opportunity that Habitat has given me of becoming a homeowner, making one of my biggest dreams come true.
This is a blessing from God and I am forever grateful.
*Subrina and her daughters moved into their new home in May 2022.
Shaderia’s Habitat journey began in 2015, when she made her first application for the Homeowner Program. That application was not approved, so she waited and worked to correct what she needed to apply again in 2016. Her patience paid off as she was approved for a new home through the program.
The process was complicated by the death of her brother in 2018, an event in her life that almost made Shaderia want to give up on her dream of owning a home. “I almost quit,” she says flatly.
But she didn’t quit, and she says her brother came to her in a dream and urged her to push forward. “Why stop now?” she says was the message of her dream, so she honored that and kept going.
Now, four years later, Shaderia is hoping to celebrate Easter in her new home with her daughter. Just the fact she has persevered through the process and will have her own home, however, is satisfaction enough.
“It’s a new start, a new beginning,” she said. “It’s a new place to make memories. It’s been a long journey…but God!”
Gary, 72, served in the U.S. Army in Europe. Following his military service, he began a career in security. Gary retired as the assistant director of security for the Longview Mall in 2012 to care for his ailing sister. Gary has also experienced a number of medical issues since that time requiring hospitalizations and surgeries.
As a result of these difficulties, he was unable financially or physically to maintain his home. Gary told us he was self-conscious about the condition of his home and it affected his emotional health. “I (developed) low self-esteem because I couldn’t do the things that needed to be done.” He searched the internet for help for two years without success.
Then Gary found Habitat’s Veteran Repair program. Habitat replaced his roof and sub flooring, repaired electrical and plumbing hazards, replaced the kitchen cabinets and sink, replaced several windows, weatherized the house, and rebuilt the back porch to allow safe entry and exit. Gary told us that he had lived with these health and safety hazards in his home since 2012.
We asked Gary what benefits he’s experienced since completing the repairs. Gary said, “My life improvement is about 70 percent. The house is safer. It is dry, comfortable and the floors aren’t soggy.”
Gary has peace of mind as he moves about his home and enjoys fewer health issues due to the cleaner air quality of the home.
But the first time she decided to turn it in, she was approved. Being a full-time mother working two jobs, consistently renting and never owning a home, lead Ebony to the decision to contact Habitat. Some of the challenges Ebony faced as a first time home buyer included inadequate credit, low income and lack of a down payment.
Ebony lived in an older, small, two-bedroom home with her four children. The home simply did not supply enough living space for her and her children on her budget. In the home, her son’s bed had to be located in the living room and her daughters shared a bed against a barricaded door.
“The lack of living spaces and old wiring in the home makes the house a struggle to live in”, she said.
Ebony and her children lived in these conditions for 2 ½ years. While living in this home, Ebony felt isolated because she could not have family over. She told us that if Habitat could help her, her life would be different.
After being approved for the Habitat Homeownership program she has experienced many benefits. Ebony was working two jobs from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. and would work her hours for Habitat after her shifts.
“It is stressful but it has been good and the children are very excited,” she said.
When she was having a hard time, Habitat’s Cheryl Webb and LaJuan Gordon were there to give her advice and talk her through everything. The entire experience made her feel Habitat was part of her family.
Ebony has many goals for her family’s future. She believes, with Habitat’s help, she can continue working on her credit, finish college, open and own her own business, and send her children to college. All of these goals are now within reach thanks to her association with Habitat.
She has already seen an increase in her income at work, and she is working better hours. Ebony has definitely seen the benefits of the Habitat Homeownership program since she was accepted.
“It has been a life-changer!” she says.
Eva was living in her house with her son from her past marriage. There were holes in the floor, broken windows, and the roof was not good. She and her son lived in these conditions for over 13 years. Eva admits that she and her child were scared but had nowhere else to go.
They had to suffer many consequences from living in such a home. At the time, her son was eight years old and he was constantly sick from living in the home. Eva says there were a lot of issues with the holes in the floor and she never felt very safe with all the damage and disrepair. She was seeing high electric bills, the air conditioner was not working which made the summers nearly unbearable, and there were the problems with mice, bugs and other pests invading the house.
Eva had no money to fix the problems. She turned to Habitat and applied for help, but did not qualify the first time. The next year, when it came time to try again, Eva admits she was scared. So she waited another year and applied in 2017. This time, her application was accepted!
Eva knew she wanted to have a secure, safe and decent house to live in with her son. Eva has been working part-time for an ESL program and then worked her Habitat hours. Since partnering with Habitat, Eva was able to earn the money to go to college to get a certificate. She is so excited for her new home.
“Getting accepted was a blessing!” Eva says. “I can’t wait to live in my house because without Habitat, I was not able to have a decent house. It is like my dream come true!”
“My house shifted, and the doors wouldn’t close or lock,” Emma says.
Through the Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity Critical Repair Program, it was discovered that soil erosion had caused the house to shift. Work was done by Habitat to correct the problem, and volunteers also installed a handrail on her steps as well as a bathroom remodel for accessibility. The team also installed a new HVAC system for Emma and her family.
After the work was done and Emma was visited by Habitat officials, she greeted them with a warm hug.
“There is no way I could ever put into words what you did for me,” Emma said. “Most people don’t understand that people get stuck and can’t find a way out until they get a hand up and back on their feet.”
Rotted flooring from water leaks and loose fixtures in her bathroom, among other things, had made living in her home very dangerous for Lorine. Electrical work done by another contractor had left vast areas of her home in the dark, forcing her to use extension cords across the floors. Lorine was living in a house that not only wasn’t efficient or inviting, it was also extremely unsafe.
Our Habitat team discovered that the electrical panel and circuits were too small, and the few operational circuits were continuously overloaded and were constantly malfunctioning, creating a daily fire hazard. An electrician was brought in to upgrade the panel and circuits, and replaced bad outlets and switches. Updated lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and smoke detectors were added.
Our Critical Repair team remodeled Lorine’s bathroom and made it safe and accessible.
Now, Lorine lives in a home that has truly become her sanctuary. She and her family can rest easy and securely with the assurance that their home is safe once again.
Sharon Pickett was 78 years old and had been living in Longview for over 40 years. Her husband of 42 years had passed away 17 years ago and through the years, things with her house had changed and deteriorated. Water was coming into the home and flooding the house, and Sharon was unable to get much help from her insurance company because she could not prove where the water was coming from.
Sharon tried to handle the problem on her own, removing the carpet and padding due to the increasing mold in her home from all the water. She tried everything she could to keep water from going all over the place, using sandbags and store-bought solutions that just didn’t fix the problem. No matter what she tried, she was unable to stop the water or determine where exactly it was coming from.
Sharon lived her life at home in a constant state of worry with every rainfall, because knew she would have to use a shop vac in order to soak up the water that would enter her home. A lawyer serving the elderly mentioned the services offered by Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity, and her daughter helped her apply.
“I never thought I would qualify because I already have a place to live,” Sharon said.
Habitat’s construction manager, Nico Fourie, visited Sharon and was able to determine that the water was coming from the roof that was in bad need of repair. Through Nico’s work with Habitat for Humanity, Sharon was able to get a new roof for just $400 that her home badly needed and now she doesn’t have to worry when storms come.
“I never dreamed I’d get one,” Sharon said of her new roof. “It’s wonderful! Nico and Cheryl were so courteous and kind, and Gerald, on Pine Tree Road, did an excellent job. I got to pick out the colors and do the whole thing, and I thought that was very special.
“I couldn’t ask for anyone to do a better job.”
Anthony Pope was drafted into the United States Army in 1966 and spent time overseas in places like Thailand while serving his country. Hard work was something he was used to, as Anthony had been working since the age of 16 while enjoying participating in his high school sports such as baseball, basketball, football and track.
Later in life he found himself living alone in a mobile home and suffering from a lack of income and prostate cancer diagnosis. This was a tough time for a man who’d served his country valiantly and also worked hard manual labor jobs in warehouses as a receiver and forklift operator.
To compound things, the mobile home was in need of serious repair. The biggest issues he had to live with included the roof and the fact that over half the flooring in the house was gone. Anthony longed to be able to invite his family over or to have visitors, but he couldn’t bring them into his home.
“I didn’t have enough money to fix the home properly,” Anthony said. “I couldn’t get a loan because of a lack of income and my cancer. I would have had a hard time paying for the loan anyway, as it would have required a large loan.”
Anthony reached out and applied for help through Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Repair Program. Through the program, Habitat was able to help him by replacing the roof. The floors throughout the home were overlaid and became good as new with vinyl flooring throughout. Habitat crews were also able to provide him with a shower conversion, a new vanity and sink, grab rails and a new toilet that gave him a new, remodeled bathroom.
Now, Anthony is thrilled to be able to simply have company into his home, including his son and two siblings, or his friends. He teaches Sunday School and professes his faith now with newfound joy and energy. Anthony is grateful for even the little things such as being able to rearrange his furniture because he has enough solid flooring and space to give him options.
“I am able to have visitors and not be embarrassed,” said the U.S. Army veteran. “I now have a better outlook on life.”
Rose Jaudon was living life day to day in desperation. She and her husband lived alone in a home that was in no shape to house the elderly, with a leaky roof, unfinished repairs in the bathroom and carpet that had become a dangerous tripping hazard. Rose had to place her husband, who was suffering from cancer, under hospice care but could find no help to fix the problems in her home.
She applied for help through the Habitat for Humanity Critical Repair Program in hopes that finally something could be done. Habitat responded with much-needed relief in the form of a brand new roof, new porch, new vinyl flooring to replace the carpet, shower conversion, new toilet, grab bars and new flooring that completed the partial bathroom repairs. The Habitat team also repaired rotten soffits that were an eyesore in her home.
Rose’s husband passed away after she made her application to Habitat, but she is grateful that Habitat was able to help her keep a roof over her head.
Mr. Duraso retired from the U.S. Air Force after 13 years of distinguished service. When we at Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity met him, he had not had heating and cooling capabilities in his home for nine years.
In fact, he had called repair companies on previous occasions and was given estimates of several thousands of dollars, a cost he simply could not afford. The Northeast Habitat for Humanity Veteran Repair Program came in and discovered that not only could the unit be repaired, but the cost of the repair was only $200.00!
This easy fix gave him the opportunity to also have safety issues addressed. The leaking roof was replaced, damaged floors repaired and the bathroom was remodeled.
Mr. Duraso’s home is now secure from rain, with a comfortable temperature year-round!
WWII Veteran James Wall is lovingly described as a “work-a-holic” by his wife.
“I don’t even bother asking him to sit down anymore,” she says with a smile.
James has lived quite the life. After returning from the war he worked as a pastor, became the first African-American principal in Carthage, and also found time to serve as County Commissioner.
Today, Mr. Wall may be retired but he is definitely not sitting still. He is focused on maintaining his home and yard as well as he possibly can. That takes a lot of work.
But keeping up that pace, or just living in East Texas for that matter, requires air conditioning and occasional heat. A few years ago, the Walls’ HVAC unit began to fail. Mr. and Mrs. Wall spent quite a bit of time, effort and money – around $900 per year – trying to keep the unit running. Eventually, though, it failed. An AC company quoted them a range of from $8,000 to $15,000 to replace their unit.
Paying this exorbitant amount for a new HVAC unit was not possible (or advisable) for the Walls. But having clean, comfortable air to breathe and live in was a necessity.
Through the #NETXHabitat Critical Home Repair and Modification program, the Walls received a new unit and installation adjustments to their home. The cost to the program was $5,000.
After a few years of troubling living conditions, the Walls are no longer stretching the confines of their budget, comfort, health and safety standards in order to live in their home.
NETHFH staff stopped by the Walls home to take a photo of the completed project. There was only a quick second to snap a photo of James, rake in hand before he got back to work.