In May, the Peñitas area of the Rio Grande Valley received hailstorms and strong winds uprooting trees and stripping roofs from many homes. For the Sanchez-Herrera family, their current home wasn’t providing enough protection during the dangerous weather. To find a safer place to withstand the weather, the family sat in their vehicle for a half hour while the storm gained more and more power.
They saw their new home, not yet finished, and planned to go through it and out the back door to their trailer located on the same lot.
“We waited for a few minutes in the home y’all built, and those minutes turned to hours,” Maria Sanchez shared. “Even if it’s not finished, we felt safe.”
The straight line winds during the storm were clocked at more than 80 miles per hour and more than 10,000 families were left with no electricity. For the Sanchez-Herrera family, their kitchen and bathroom area in their trailer was flooded. This is attached to the room the family sleeps in.
While facing a storm, the family experienced that just the basic elements of this home could provide a safety net, while still lacking plumbing, electrical and other finishing items.
The journey to a safer home
Maria and her husband Juan qualified through the Buckner Family Hope Center® at Peñitas to participate in the Buckner Healthy Housing program where they receive assistance to build a home of their own. They came to the Family Hope Center five years ago after hearing about the services from a neighbor. Over the years, the family invested their time into classes and programs.
“Today, Maria is giving back by serving as one of our allies for the Faith and Finances class,” shared Chris Cato, director of missions for Buckner International. “After completing many classes, she helps other families navigate living out these financial principles. She’s also on the Neighborhood Advisory Council.”
The process to build their new home began in March, and typically, this is a six-month process. But with the dedication of both the volunteers and the Sanchez-Herrera family, they’re on track to have a complete home in the next few weeks.
Their new home was a remote build started in the parking lot of Stonebriar Church in Frisco, Texas. Church members headed to the Valley over spring break to help assemble the home alongside Maria and Juan.
Buckner provides holistic, long-lasting support to families
Healthy Housing seeks to provide physical support to families alongside the work done with family coaches through the Family Hope Center programs. Through this, families create a healthier lifestyle together while also learning self-esteem, health and hygiene basics, and overall skills to be a self-sufficient family.
“Our whole goal of Buckner Healthy Housing is to provide safe, secure housing,” shared Chris Cato, director of missions for Buckner International. “We want these homes to provide a haven and help families create strong bonds. When we hear an unfinished home provides shelter when it wasn’t even done yet, it’s further evidence of what the program is doing for families.”