East Texas veteran’s home renovated by Habitat for Humanity of Smith Co.

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Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 10:46 PM CST
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VAN, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas veteran is getting help with critical home repairs thanks to a recent grant to Smith County Habitat for Humanity.

We visited with the veteran who said the repairs will give him his home back.

For the fifth year in a row, Habitat has received this USDA grant with funds going toward critical home repairs for low-income families. Homeowner and Navy veteran Jerry Russell described his recent living conditions prior to the repairs organized by habitat.

“We probably lived in half of the house for over two years because of the ceilings and that was due to the foundation,” Russell said. “There was bad terminate damage as well as water damage.”

Russell’s family received roofing, sheetrock, and foundation repairs with more renovations set for the future.

“If they hadn’t come in, it probably would’ve taken me, I would say roughly 20 years to be able to fix all of this stuff,” Russell said.

In October, we spoke with Raimund Gideon Habitat’s director of construction, when they received the check. He said there are many homes needing repairs across east Texas.

“There’s a substantial need, every county in East Texas,” Gideon said. “The houses are there, but a lot of the houses are just in terrible deterioration, and these individuals are low-income, elderly, or they have disabilities, and they don’t have the means to take care of the repairs for themselves.”

Overall, Russell said he’s thankful.

“It brought me to tears when they actually told me what they were going to do for us, so I’m more than grateful to them for that,” Russell said.

The $327,000 grant is one of the largest grants received by Habitat for Humanity in its 30-year history.

Habitat will use the USDA grant to repair 30 homes in the rural areas of seven East Texas counties. They include.

  • Smith
  • Anderson
  • Henderson
  • Rusk
  • Van Zandt
  • Wood
  • Cherokee

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