Houston organization rebuilds homes and lives for seniors in Third Ward

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Thursday, November 3, 2022
Houston organization rebuilds homes and lives in Third Ward
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ABC13 visited Mary Banks' Third Ward home, where she has lived for over 40 years. Rebuilding Together Houston is helping ensure she can continue living in the neighborhood she loves.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston organization is giving back to the community by helping low-income seniors repair their aging homes.

ABC13 visited Mary Banks' beautiful home in the heart of Third Ward, where she has lived for more than four decades.

Her home was in bad need of repairs, and that's when a local organization stepped in to help.

"Let's see. We moved in here when my son was 5 years old. He is 50 now. That should get you," Mary said.

The home holds countless memories for Mary and her family.

"The house was built in 1936 by my husband's auntie. So we bought it from her," Mary said.

Her husband, Honorary Mayor Ed Banks, was known by many in the neighborhood as a man who advocated for his community.

They were married for 53 years before he passed away in 2018, which left the house and maintenance up to Mary.

"I cut down trees and get up there and do the roof," she said.

For many longtime neighbors in communities like the Third Ward, their homes have aged, along with the occupants.

"As the occupants became older, their finances became more meager," Councilmember Carolyn Evans-Shabazz said. "They were not able to keep up their homes in the manner they did."

For some, the cost of repairs is so high, they decide to sell their homes.

However, Rebuilding Together Houston hopes to solve the problem.

The organization is working to assist homeowners in need with repairs -- free of charge -- thanks to partnerships with companies like HP. They also make sure that homes are up to code and safe to live in.

At the Banks' home, a new roof, electrical repairs and new paint will allow Mary to continue living in the neighborhood she loves, which her husband gave so much to.

"I just want to give honor to my husband, because anybody could come by for something, and he was always there, Mark said. "You asked, and he was there."

So far, Rebuilding Together Houston has served almost 15,000 of our neighbors over the past four years.

Their work started in the East End, and now they're focusing on Third Ward.

You can visit their website to apply for assistance.

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