When Rita Goad’s husband was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, she thought life couldn’t get any worse. And then it did.
A few weeks after his diagnosis, the Goads were informed that their home was uninhabitable, and they were forced to move into a local hotel. Mere days after leaving their long-time home, vandals broke in and stole all of the Goads’ belongings, including clothes and furniture.
“She didn’t even have a coat,” Mike Seiler, Goad’s Farmers Insurance agent, said. “It was bad, so this is a blessing. That’s why I had to be here, to watch what she’s endured.”
Since 2001, the City of Belton has worked alongside the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to bring relief to low-income families like the Goads in Belton through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
The program is designed to distribute grants to local governments, public housing authorities, nonprofits and for-profit entities in order to supply safe and affordable housing. To date, the City of Belton has received $2.07 million in grants to rebuild 32 houses within the city.
“It takes a lot of coordination and effort from many different groups,” said Aaron Harris, Grants and Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Belton. “It’s meant to provide safe and affordable housing that’s needed in our community, and it wouldn’t have happened without the corporation of our city council, GrantWorks, the builder and city staff.”
This year, the city was able to build three new houses for Belton residents, including the Goads, Frank Vasquez and Mary Dominguez.
“This is an example of how your municipal government, your city government and your state government work together to make lives better for citizens in Belton,” Belton Mayor Jim Covington said. “This really is a great day for the city of Belton because one of our long-time residents is getting a brand new house. It is with a great deal of pleasure, Ms. Goad, that I give you the keys to your new house.”
The dedication of the city to helping its citizens through programs like this was especially evident at the Goads’ new home. A desert garden planted by the late Mr. Goad stands in front of the home as a symbol of his undying love for his wife. Initially, the builders planned to unearth the garden during the construction of the new home, but the city quickly stepped in.
“The builder took great effort in preserving those to make sure they weren’t damaged or harmed as they built this house,” Covington said.
The garden now proudly guards the Goads’ property, representing hope even in the darkest times.