Did you know Habitat families not only pay an affordable mortgage for their Habitat home, they also invest at least 250 hours in sweat equity? These are hours spent helping build their home and their neighbors’ homes, attending financial education classes, and volunteering in their community.
Recently, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation rewarded two of our Habitat families who went way beyond their required 250 sweat equity hours. Continue reading to meet these two families and discover what they received in their Wells Fargo Welcome Home Gift Box.
The Shellis Proutt family
As a single mom, Shellis Proutt had toyed with the idea of homeownership in the past but found it difficult to save enough money, so she continued renting. That was before. Now Shellis’ home is complete, and she and her daughter are enjoying living in a space that is fully theirs. “It feels good to have something to call my own,” she explains.
Shellis’ family was super supportive throughout the building process. Her dad pushed her to put in hours whenever she could, and he worked alongside her. “Don’t wait until your house is ready to do the work,” he urged. Together they accumulated enough sweat equity hours to meet the requirement before construction on Shellis’ home ever began. “It feels good to help other people.” Even now that her home is built, Shellis hopes to volunteer once or twice each year to help other Habitat families.
She put in the work without ever expecting acknowledgement. “I didn’t keep track of hours. I just kept turning in my slip.” At her closing, Trinity Habitat and Wells Fargo surprised her with a Welcome Home Gift Box for being one of the two families with the most sweat equity hours in 2016. Shellis was both shocked and surprised. “I kept tearing up and crying. This was an extra blessing on top of the house.”
With the help of the gift cards in their gift box, Shellis was able to buy bedding for her new home and still send her 12-year old daughter to summer camp. For a single mom, that’s a big deal. Throughout the process, she’s been able to show her daughter, “You can work hard, do what’s right, and get what you want in life. Sometimes you get discouraged, but you keep going.”
Celebrating Wells Fargo’s Partnership
“Wells Fargo has partnered with Trinity Habitat for many years, and we are proud of all we have accomplished together revitalizing neighborhoods and underwriting the construction cost of affordable homes for truly deserving families in our area,” said Region Bank President, John T. Gavin. “Wells Fargo has a long tradition of helping and supporting the communities in which we do business. It is a commitment we are very proud of and one which remains a key focus for our company. That’s why, last year alone, we donated over $10 million to nonprofit organizations across the state of Texas and our team members volunteered over 142,000 hours helping people and communities succeed.”
Earlier this year, Wells Fargo received Trinity Habitat’s “Storehouse Award” for their continued support and contribution of more than $1,100,000 from Wells Fargo, the Wells Fargo Foundation, and the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation over the past 12 years. The “Storehouse Award” celebrates financial partners who have given more than $1,000,000 of their resources to further the mission and vision of Trinity Habitat.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Team Member Volunteer Program, Wells Fargo donated gift boxes full of goodies to Habitat families across the country. Trinity Habitat presented gift boxes to the two homeowners who had the most sweat equity hours in 2016. Each of the families went well beyond the required 250 hours.
The Welcome Home Gift Box
Inside each gift box were the following items valued at approximately $950:
- $100 gas gift card
- $100 hardware store gift card
- $350 Macy’s gift card
- Nest Fire Alarm
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
- $200 Wells Fargo Visa gift card
The Mwenebenge Family
Issa and Sela came with their children to the United States in 2010 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They went above and beyond completing their sweat equity hours and moved into their Habitat home in 2016.
One of the best words to describe this family is generous! As a sign of their gratitude, every month when they drop off their mortgage check, they also drop off delicious home cooked food for our staff. Issa and Sela came by the Trinity Habitat main office a few weeks ago for their surprise. They were joined by their son, Imani, who is in college in Houston studying chemistry.
The Mwenebenge family sent the following thank you note to express their feelings after receiving their gift box from Wells Fargo:
My family and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful gifts presented to us. Because of this gesture, my family will take care of some of the necessities that every new homeowner faces.
My car won’t be stuck in the garage thanks to the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation.
May the Lord continue to fill your occupations with tremendous success and fill your pockets so that you may continue to bless families to come.
Thank you so much.
Trinity Habitat for Humanity would like to thank Wells Fargo for their ongoing support and BOMA Fort Worth, the sponsor responsible for funding Shellis’ home, for making this celebration possible. With our partners, we are building strong families and neighborhoods. If you would like to get involved, visit any of these pages: Volunteer, Give, Shop ReStore. Thank you for your support!