AUSTIN (KXAN) — One house in 10 days.
An Austin family will soon have a roof over their heads and Austin Habitat for Humanity is building it before their eyes one wall at a time.
The first wall came up Tuesday morning for the seventh annual Blitz Build.
Austin Habitat for Humanity partnered with the Austin Board of Realtors Foundation. They started constructing the affordable home together with more than 300 volunteers. The foundation is providing funding and labor.
Theresa Brown, foundation chairperson, said of watching the walls go up:
“It’s very emotional actually. For us as a realtor, we get to make dreams come possible for our clients all of the time. To be able to hand keys and have somebody get out of a cramped apartment… it’s so impactful.“
Tede Tchabou is the mother of that family crowded into a two-bedroom apartment with increasing rent. She came from Africa to Austin to find better opportunities in America but started to struggle.
“The journey was not easy, but by God’s grace, everything worked out for me… I feel blessed,” Tchabou said. “It’s a house I never dreamed of. You know how expensive houses are in this country. With the job I’m doing, my income couldn’t allow me to get a house here.”
Tchabou put in work to overcome her hardships: 340 hours worth.
“I have been working on my neighbor’s houses til I got to this point today,” Tchabou said.
Tchabou looks forward to seeing her house built and is excited about the benefits of living in her own home.
“The garden area… I’m so excited to have some beautiful flowers in my backyard,” Tchabou said.
But many aren’t as lucky as her.
“Our homelessness has gotten out of control,” said Brown. “We need to come together as a community and do everything possible to be able to provide housing for our community.“
The foundation hopes this new home will add to Austin’s affordable housing stock and reduce homelessness.
“We get to give somebody a house, give a family a house. It’s steps towards getting rid of the homelessness we see in this area,” Brown said.
But the Austin housing market is challenging.
“Especially for those that are in need and can’t necessarily afford or don’t have the means for traditional financing down payments,” Brown said. “There are so many programs for assistance but it doesn’t hit everybody.”