Here are a handful of the success stories people like you’ve made possible by supporting this affordable housing ministry with financial gifts or by volunteering time. If you would like to contribute to more success stories like these, click here to give.
Rachel Henderson loves that her daughter Stella is proud of their new home in Warrensburg, Mo., and happy to see that her zero-percent mortgage payments are less than renting a tiny apartment. Fuller Center mortgage payments are recycled to help others get decent homes. “Every time we pay we’re getting that much closer to being able to build a house for another person.”
Scroll down a little and you’ll meet Zuinmy’s mom, Ana, who used her last bit of money to put herself and her three children on a bus for our project in La Florida, Peru. “Having this home helped me see the positive side of everything and persist in the face of problems,” says Zuinmy, who is now in college pursuing a law degree with the ultimate goal of helping others.
A massive March 3, 2019, tornado killed Wayne Robinson’s sister in the home that they shared in Beauregard, Alabama. In all, 23 people died and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. The Fuller Center built 18 new homes in 2019, including 11 during the Millard Fuller Legacy Build, and our work was featured in a Hallmark TV special, “Project Christmas Joy.”
The Browns never thought they’d escape a terribly blighted area of Shreveport known as “The Bottoms” alive. They turned their lives around and became Fuller Center homeowners in nearby Bossier City — and paid off their mortgage in just 7 years. This “miracle” story resulted from a community-wide effort to honor 3 service-minded girls killed in a car wreck.
Our Disaster ReBuilders have been busy in recent years with hurricanes causing flooding and other damage in Texas, North Carolina and Florida. But hundreds of volunteers have joined them in responding to calls for help, and they are in the trenches in all three states doing the dirty work of long-term disaster recovery where so many have lost hope long after the storms.
The concept of “sweat equity” is a foundational principle of The Fuller Center. Our partner families work alongside our volunteers, enhancing their sense of ownership and pride. Krystal Dillon and her children partnered to build a home in Independence, La., and says there was definitely a lot of sweat — along with blood and tears — but it was all worth it.
When little K’Hairi climbed upon Santa’s lap each Christmas, he didn’t ask for toys or even for his sickle-cell anemia to be cured. He only asked for his mom, an Army veteran, to have a decent place to live. It proved too great a request for Santa Claus but not for Fuller Center volunteers. She now owns an affordable home and can better care for K’Hairi.
Thad was depressed for nearly a decade after an accident left him paralyzed. But after partnering to build a wheelchair-accessible home — and contributing more than his required “sweat equity” — he felt empowered and grateful. He now volunteers his time to help others and leads student groups who come to work in Americus, Georgia.
Cindy’s family was the first we met in Las Peñitas, Nicaragua, and they captured our hearts with their joy — though they lived in a shack much like the rest of the families in the fishing village. Her family would become our first homeowner partners in Nicaragua. Cindy is all grown up, and the village has been completely transformed by 120 more new homes.
Ana left the slums of Lima with her three children and took off for the mountain community of La Florida, Peru, in total desperation after hearing about The Fuller Center for Housing’s work there. She built a new home and says she discovered a new “Ana.” Her children are thriving, and she has become a popular elected official and community leader.
“It sounded too good to be true,” says Lorie, who was born with a severe disability that affects every joint in her body and greatly limits her range of motion. At last, she agreed to partner to build a home that fits her needs. She performed her required “sweat equity” in an office and has since joined the local covenant partner’s board of directors.
Army veteran Cliff struggled in his return to civilian life and wound up homeless. But today he lives on a street of homes occupied by fellow veterans. His home’s many volunteers included Grammy-winner John Mayer (above). Cliff had no idea who Mayer was at the time, but they became big fans of each other. Cliff now works with other struggling veterans.
“Domiks” are shipping containers that the Soviet Union used as temporary shelters after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. But the Soviet Union collapsed, and many families still live in those metal containers. We’ve helped more than 725 families build decent homes, often partnering with parents who grew up in domiks and want better for their children.
Decades of well-meaning handouts fostered a culture of dependency in Haiti — so much so that we were told our model of enlightened charity in which families work alongside our volunteers and repay costs of materials would never work. More than 200 homes later, the empowering hand-up model proves to Haitians they can help themselves.
The issues of housing and health are inextricably linked. In the hard-to-reach mountain village of Mizque, Bolivia, families were terrorized by the Chagas bug which made its home in the mud and straw of families’ huts. It would then bite them and lay eggs in their skin, causing Chagas disease. With 66 new homes, Mizque has won its battle against Chagas.