What Is The HGTV Dream Home Winner Doing Now?

As Don Cruz walks us through his 5,000 square foot home we learn his story was truly one of rags to riches. "My dad worked 3 jobs to make ends meet. At one time I remember eating grits for three months straight for breakfast, lunch and dinner because they were a nickel a box and that's all we could afford," says Don about his childhood days. 
It is why winning the home was such a dream come true. Since that time, people from across the country have shown up on his doorstep, still wanting to see the mansion 36 million people tried to win. Others are hoping a "for sale" sign will be added to the landscape. "Somebody was offering 5 to 5 1/2 [million dollars]. But there was never anything in writing. And I told him the house isn't for sale," says Cruz.
So does that mean he's staying in the house for good? All accounts point to that. Don says this is his favorite part of the home is the downstairs guest area where he and his family watch TV on one of 6 plasma screens. "A lot of people tell me that 'why don't you sell the house.' Well if God wanted me to have money I would have won the lottery. I didn't win the lottery we won the house.
We plan to stay here until the day we die. We plan to live here forever as long as God provides it." But at one point that plan seemed like it was in jeopardy. Don boldly went to the City of Tyler to get permission to rent out portions of the dream home, extra money that could help pay for enormous expenses and county and federal taxes. The city came back with a unanimous no.
So at this point where will the money come from? "God provides. So, I'm not worried about it," says Cruz. KLTV 7 Reporter Christine Nelson asks, "Is [the money] there when that time comes?" Cruz replies, "It's always been there when that time comes, God always provides for everything so I never really worry about anything. God will provide."
Don says his faith is how he's survived through life all these years. Something he learned from his mother who suffered from multiple sclerosis and eventually passed away from the disease. His life accounts will be put in the form of a book he's writing right now. "We're excited about the book, the book's going to be a lot of fun," says Cruz. "We don't have a publisher once we get everything written we'll look for a publisher." So Lake Tyler is where Don Cruz and family begins a new chapter of their lives. And as dream home owner turned soon-to-be author he's making sure it will have a fairytale ending.
Don says he hasn't come up with a name for the book yet and isn't putting a target date on when it will be finished.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com