Controversial Habitat For Humanity Home Gets New Owners

Two East Texas families received keys to their very own homes Sunday afternoon.

"There are not words to say thank you to all the people who helped," said new homeowner Adolfo Ponce.  After waiting a year and a half, Habitat for Humanity of Smith County welcomed Adolfo and Imelda Ponce into their new home.  The house was built by the Church of Christ Coalition Build.

Another Habitat For Humanity home dedication, Sunday was once the center of controversy. In October, the Hodges family was all set to receive a new home, but just days before the dedication, a member of the family was arrested in connection to a string of bank robberies.  That home, however, isn't being forgotten.

It's a brand new home and a brand new start for Angela Warren and her daughters.  Another families new start has been put on hold.  You may remember in October the Hodges family was all set to get their home, only to find out the father Derrick Hodges, 33 was arrested for allegedly robbing a bank.

"We put the Hodges family application on hold, and we put the construction of this house on hold for a couple months," said Habitat For Humanity Board President Greg Grubb.  Back in November, Grubb told us there would be a new policy for potential homeowners.

"We are requesting criminal background checks," said Grubb.  "Any prospective homeowner on parole, or probation will not enter the program until that is cleared up."  The board also determined they would finish the house and give it to the next homeowner in line, the Warrens.

"It is a great, great opportunity," said new homeowner Angela Warren.  "Today, is a joyous day, a blessed day.  I am excited, my kids are excited.  No renting, this is ours."  What could have been someone else's, is now Angela and her family's new beginning.

Angela said they won't get to sleep in their new home Sunday night, but hope to be completely moved in by the first week of February.

Danielle Capper Reporting,