The Greater Houston Builders Association, located off Beltway 8, launched HomeAid Houston in 2003 to support the homeless through new housing opportunities and outreach programming. Since then, its projects have provided more than 20,000 beds for homeless individuals in the region, according to Executive Director Carole Brady.
“[COVID-19] has taught us that home right now means everything,” Brady said. “If you were dealing with home insecurity now during this, that’s a really frightening place to be.”
HomeAid Houston typically does two large construction projects annually, which start with a nonprofit filling out an application. Officials then conduct a site visit, examine the health of the nonprofit’s board and volunteer pool, and determine the financial sustainability of the project before making their final selections.
While nonprofits raise funding for these projects, builders offer discounted rates, helping to cut expenses up to 55%, Brady said.
HomeAid Houston also fundraises to conduct four smaller projects every year at no cost to nonprofits. These projects are valued at under $10,000 and can include bathroom or kitchen renovations and food pantry expansions, among others.
With a background in working with homeless families for more than 20 years herself, Brady said she loves seeing nonprofits help their clients grow and become self-sufficient. During her first few weeks on the job, she toured one of the group’s partner nonprofits, Boys and Girls County, a Hockley-based home for children whose families are in crisis.
“This little girl who probably couldn’t be more than 10 walked up to me and said, ‘Do you want to see my room? For the very first time in my life, I have my very own room,’” Brady said. “She said it was the safest place in the world, and I thought if that doesn’t speak volumes about what we do and why we do it, I don’t know what does.”
HomeAid Houston has completed more than 55 projects for organizations, including the Houston Area Women’s Center, United States Veterans Initiative, Mission of Yahweh and the Krause Children’s Center.
“The nonprofits are so grateful. They’re already working so very hard to keep things going,” she said. “To have an organization come in and say, ‘You know what, you’re right—your flooring is falling apart, and you need new lighting, and you need more space. We’re going to be able to do that for you,’ it means they can serve more people and do more for the community.”