(Photo: Charles and Vernita Brown cut the ribbon on their new Bossier City home in 2012. Less than seven years later, they have now paid off the mortgage.)
Navy veteran Charles Brown and his wife Vernita know what it’s like to be mired in the depths of misery and despair, barely surviving in a troubled area of Shreveport, La., known as “The Bottoms.” They’ve gone through depression, addiction, homelessness and incarceration. “We’re supposed to be dead,” is how Vernita Brown puts it.
Now, not only are they recovered and living, but they are thriving in a beautiful Fuller Center home in Bossier City, La., and have become the first homeowner partners with the Northwest Louisiana Fuller Center for Housing to pay off their mortgage in full — and they did it in just seven years. The local VA hospital now uses Charles’ story to hammer home the message that no person is beyond hope and no situation is insurmountable.
And the entire home build is the result of a community and church turning a terrible tragedy that took the lives of three teenage girls into a legacy of love.
(Note about our mortgages: Fuller Center homeowner partners contribute “sweat equity” and work alongside our volunteers and then repay the costs of materials on terms they can afford to pay, over time, with zero-percent interest charged and no profit made. Those payments go into a Fund for Humanity in their local community to help others get the same hand-up into a simple, decent home. Therefore, our homeowner partners are not charity cases but givers themselves, and our donors’ generosity is recycled to help multiple families.)
VIDEO: KSLA-TV’s special report on the Browns and this project from its “The Good Stuff — Stories That Inspire” series: