Aug. 2 is a day emblazoned on Janelle Thewett’s calendar – the day she receives the keys to her new home.

Volunteers with the nonprofit Bay Area Habitat for Humanity built the four-bedroom house from foundation to roof, and on July 26 College of the Mainland students, staff and family members helped place some of the finishing touches.
“My kids are ready. They already have their rooms picked out,” said Thewett, a mother of three children who currently share one bedroom. “They’re excited.”
As part of Habitat for Humanity’s guidelines, Thewett has put in 300 sweat equity hours, both on her own and other Habitat for Humanity homes.
“She’s been a good, good, good addition to Habitat. She and her brother worked their tails off,” said Tom Gongora, Bay Area Habitat for Humanity construction supervisor. “The whole family’s been great, coming out and doing all this work.”
The foundation was laid in April, Thewett said as she showed a cell phone photo of the freshly laid concrete slab. Since then on Thursdays and Saturdays volunteers from various groups have come to raise walls, lay tile and paint.
The Bay Area Habitat for Humanity has completed homes and rehab projects in Alvin, Dickinson, Texas City and La Porte. The program is a win-win for cities and families, said Gongora.
“We’re in a good partnerships with La Porte and Texas City,” said Gongora. “They give (properties) to us. We build (houses) and put them right back on tax rolls.”
After applying for Habitat for Humanity homes, families such as Thewett’s are evaluated based on need, the ability to repay the no-interest loan and the desire to partner with the organization. Each qualifying family earns 60 percent or less of the area median income. In addition to providing a home, the organization gives free budgeting and financial literacy classes.
“They have 20-year interest-free loans, (which) run about $650 a month. You can’t get a one-bedroom apartment for that,” said Gongora. “And the families are in nice, safe homes.”
On Saturday COM volunteers caulk, paint trim and nail siding to the storage shed in the backyard.
“We will be invited back out when they give them the keys,” said COM director of student life Tige Cornelius, the volunteer who organized COM’s participation. “That’s the most moving moment – to see the impact on the family.”

Bay Area Habitat for Humanity is the only nonprofit home builder in the Galveston, Southeast Harris and Northern Brazoria County area partnering with families to build quality, safe, affordable and energy-efficient homes with zero-interest mortgages. To learn more about the Bay Area Habitat for Humanity, visit