LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Neighborhood Strong, a non-profit group known for renovating North Lufkin, is expanding its services. The agency provides funding and labor for needed repairs to qualified homeowners. The work promotes proud ownership.
Repairs are underway in a rural area of Angelina County at the home of Hope Helmuth.
Construction workers peel siding from the home. The work began after a new roof installation. It was all arranged and paid for by Neighborhood Strong.
“I seen it on the news and that’s how I knew,” said Helmuth, referring to the numerous stories KTRE-TV has done on the success of revitalizing North Lufkin, a once thriving neighborhood that had fallen on hard times because of years of neglect.
Homeowner Hope Helmuth caught the news at a time in her life when things are tough.
“My husband just passed away, and he wanted this house done and we didn’t have the money,” Helmuth said. “I didn’t know what to do, and so, I filled out the application to get my house done.”
Dr. Wayne Lawrence, the executive director of Neighborhood Strong, said he understands the various hardships.
“When people are in a state of poverty and have been for a prolonged time, they are not able to maintain their homes,” Lawrence said.
In the last four years, Neighborhood Strong has repaired over 80 homes, all in Angelina County. A recent grant award will allow the agency to help a bigger region.
“Part of that grant that we’re getting over a three year period is that we expand to counties adjacent to Angelina, such as Nacogdoches,” Lawrence said.
Austin Bank’s Nacogdoches branch is the first to provide $1,000 as seed money.
Dustin Beavers, the vice-president relationship manager, is confident the donor list will grow.
“Nacogdoches is such a very giving community, so I encourage all the businesses to join Dr. Lawrence and his commitment to Nacogdoches and get involved,” Beavers said.
An average of $15,000 is spent on each house belonging to low-income individuals. The gift is becoming more expensive as materials go up in price during the pandemic. The agency’s goal is to still renovate 25 homes, five of which will be selected in Nacogdoches.
Applications can be found on the Neighborhood Strong website.
Dr. Lawrence wants to have the first house in Nacogdoches selected in a month or two.