Habitat for Humanity gave more than 50 homes to San Antonio families in 2020 despite pandemic

The nonprofit met it’s annual goal in the face of unprecedented challenges

SAN ANTONIO – For Brenda Sanchez, being a homeowner was something she dreamed of. She never thought it would come true. Habitat for Humanity made it happen.

“This has been a dream of mine, and I really can’t believe it’s happening,” Sanchez said.

The single mom said she wanted this for her daughter and she never thought it was possible.

“When I saw the opportunity to apply, I applied and I really didn’t think I would get it,” Sanchez said. “But here I am today, and I’m very grateful for everyone that’s helped me.”

It’s a feeling 50 other families in San Antonio experienced in 2020 thanks to Habitat for Humanity. It was a goal Habitat For Humanity Vice President Stephanie Wiese said was very important to meet.

“We basically looked at our families and we know that their service industry families in San Antonio, they’re the hotel workers, the bank tellers, the restaurant workers, and they’re the ones with the most need,” Wiese said. “And we just really couldn’t let them down.”

Wiese said that meeting the goal was difficult thanks to the pandemic. Not only was getting the needed supplies a challenge, but having the people there to help was as well.

“Between March and the end of August, we saw 95 percent fewer volunteers than we usually see in the fall,” Wiese said. “From about September until now, we saw about 75 percent fewer volunteers. So a lot more overtime, a lot more sweat, a lot more skilled trades.”

Wiese said homeowners who become homebuyers through Habitat for Humanity have to put in the sweat equity. Once qualified, a homeowner has to put in time helping with the build of his or her own home. But Wiese said it’s all for a good reason.

“Habitat believes in home ownership and the ability to be able to save your money and have a stable environment for your family to live and grow, for your kids to go to school,” Wiese said. “This year, that was more important than ever.”

The homes go for $95,000 and Wiese said these homes help address another problem in San Antonio.

“There’s always been a housing challenge in San Antonio, Wiese said. “The need for affordable housing is great. COVID just elevated all of that.”

Wiese is concerned that 2021 maybe even more difficult because of the pandemic.

“I hope companies that were generous this year can continue to keep these families in mind next year because it’s next year, I think is going to be even harder,” Wiese said. “There may be less of the government funds available and there may be fewer grants available that would potentially help our families.”

As for 2020, Sanchez said she is excited to move into her new home with her daughter.

“It’s something that you can say I accomplished,” Sanchez said. “Not a lot of people can do this and I didn’t think I would. So that’s something that I’m very proud of.”

For information on how to volunteer or donate to Habitat for Humanity, click here.

About the Author:

Sean Talbot is the Assistant News Director at KSAT. He formerly served as the Assignments Manager. He joined KSAT in 2001. He graduated from Texas State with a degree in Mass Communication with a minor in Political Science. When he’s not getting our news crews out the door, he’s at home with his wife Lomisa and their two daughters Grace and Sydney.