Habitat property target of vandals

June 1, 2010 9:07:28 AM PDT
Habitat for Humanity is known worldwide for helping families create and care for a home of their own. But some say the organization isn't doing enough to care for one of its own properties.

The problem is happening at the Cherie Cove subdivision in northwest Houston in a Habitat-built community, where many residents are first-time homeowners who work hard to maintain their homes.

Betty Thomas takes pride in her home.

"I know where every nail is in the house," she said.

Because of Habitat for Humanity, she helped build it as part of the deal on her way to becoming a homeowner seven years ago.

"I'm pretty proud about that," she said.

She just wishes the organization would take the same pride in its property.

"It looks like an eyesore," Thomas said.

Habitat's northwest Harris County affiliate owns a corner lot at the entrance to Betty's Cherie Cove subdivision.

"It's pretty sad when that's the first thing you see," she said.

There's a community center and a serious fence problem.

"Fixed one week, and the next week, it's back down, plus more," neighbor Thomas Jackson said.

The rusted nails, sharp edges and missing sections are not only dangerous, residents say, but also detrimental to their property values.

"When it's torn down, it's raggedy," Jackson said.

And they want it all fixed.

"There's no excuse. It needs to be fixed," Thomas said.

Habitat for Humanity tells us they have fixed the fence on several occasions, but clearly just fixing it doesn't work. Now they're on to Plan B. They hope a neighborhood patrol will catch whoever is responsible and end the cycle for good.

"Kids tear it down," Jackson said.

Residents blame the vandalism on bored teens who are too lazy to walk around, so they break the fence and cut through. Habitat says repairing it is in vain until the source of the problem can be found.

Bridgette Burnam has a message for the vandals.

"Have respect for your neighborhood," Burnam said.

Thomas Jackson has a punishment.

"Nail them down. Nail them to the fence," Jackson said jokingly.

Habitat for Humanity says the homeowners association has gotten additional security, and it's also working to organize a neighborhood watch program.

If nothing changes, Thomas said she plans to take photos of the fence with her next time she protests her property taxes.


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