Austin families receive new homes for the holidays


by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News & Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @JessicaV_KVUE

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 20 at 4:32 PM

AUSTIN -- Three weeks of non-stop work are paying off. Two Austin women are now holding the keys to their new homes.

KVUE is a proud sponsor of the annual Austin Habitat for Humanity’s Homes for the Holidays blitz build.

“It's amazing to watch the progress over the weeks,” said KVUE News Nightbeat anchor Terri Gruca.

See photos from the event here.

The work continued up to the last minute Friday morning. As volunteers lay the final pieces of sod on the ground, Nerisbel Mora couldn't hold back. She walked into her new home with friends and volunteers by her side.

The smile on her face grew as she walked through. This moment didn't come easy. The smile quickly turned to tears of joy as she thought back to all she did to get there. Mora put in 150 hours of work building homes for others and another 150 hours building her own home, just in time for the holiday.

“It's not a hand out. It's a hand up,” described Home Away spokesman Ross Buhrdorf.

Her home isn't the only one that volunteers built this season. A few yards over Eneida Rodriguez Gomez is moving in with her father Francisco. She went through the same struggles. For Eneida it’s a dream come true. It's been a whirlwind the past three weeks.

Volunteers worked through brutal weather, never giving up on the chance to finish these homes by Christmas.

“It's been one of the toughest builds that I've ever been involved with,” said volunteer Bill Aguayo.

Aguayo has been volunteering at the Homes for the Holidays build since it launched nine years ago.

“My heart is full of joy for Christmas you know? This is my Christmas. This is my Christmas present,” said Aguayo.

This year KVUE partnered with Home Away and the Austin Board of Realtors which provided the first of the home décor, a Christmas wreath for the front door.

“You know just get them into the holiday house. They have a house they're going to have to furnish and put food in the pantry and everything,” said President of the Austin Board of Realtors Cathy Coneway.

The Capital Area Food Bank is helping fill that pantry. The agency donated boxes of food for Mora and Rodriguez-Gomez.

Once all the work was complete Eneida and Nerisbel stood out front, surrounded by volunteers with one final job. In a ceremonial cut, the women sawed through the last piece of wood in this build.

Smiles and cheers erupted through their new neighborhood, a neighborhood that they can call home just in time for the holidays.

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