Sundance Square in the heart of Fort Worth is known for many things, great restaurants, theatre, and plenty of opportunities to just walk around and take in the ambiance.
This week it will also be known as the site of a home that is being built as Trinity Habitat is holding their 10th Downtown Build project.
In a project that started Monday and will continue through Saturday, Janessea Leadley will be building her Habitat for Humanity home with the help of more than Alcon employees in Sundance Square. This is the first year for the Alcon Foundation to come onboard for the project.
On Monday, April 1, after the home is built, it will be moved to the Hillside Morningside neighborhood, just south of downtown near I-35 and Rosedale.
Janessea lived in Hillside Morningside when she was a little girl and knows how rough the area used to be. Her own parents got swept up in drugs and criminal activity and ended up in prison.
At only 8 years old, she was shot in the head when gang members started shooting at her aunt’s house. She was an innocent bystander asleep in bed.
Now that she is grown with children of her own, Janessea is determined to provide a better life for them. She’s also excited to see the transformation occurring in her old neighborhood, and to know that she and her boys, Elijah, 10, and Elan, 8, are helping make it even better.
“Rebuilding a community that most have forgotten helps the community care once again. It gives hope to those who have been hopeless,” she said.
Hillside Morningside is one of three partner neighborhoods Trinity Habitat has been working in since 2015. Since that time, volunteers, donors, and community partners have worked together to build 49 new homes and rehabilated 10 other existing homes. Trinity Habitat’s commitment is to build 60-80 homes by 2021.
Janessea and her boys used to live in Saginaw, because they loved the school district. However, without regular financial support from her brother, she wasn’t able to afford the rent and the family’s basic needs. Being a single mom, it was hard to balance work at the post office, her boys, and taking care of her disabled mom.
To make things easier financially, Janessea recently moved into her dad’s three-bedroom apartment. She and her boys share a bedroom.
Now, along with their own home, they also found an affordable apartment for Janessea’s physically challenged mom, located very close to where their Habitat home will be. The boys will each have their own room in the new home, along with a backyard to play in.
And, with a mortgage she can afford, Janessea plans to start saving for her boys’ college, which she said is an imperative. She also plans to attend college herself and get a degree in business administration.
“I want to make the most of this opportunity to get ahead. I want my boys to see that no matter what it’s never too late to accomplish anything you really want,” she said.
Trinity Habitat families invest 250 sweat equity hours in place of a down payment and pay a 30-year, no-interest mortgage (on average $650/month).
The Leadleys’ Habitat home has been funded by Alcon and built with many in-kind material donations, so Janessea’s house payments will go towards helping future Habitat families.
“With the help of God, Habitat, and all their partners, I am ready to enjoy life at its best,” Janessea said.
Visitors to Sundance Square are welcome to stop by and watch the home as it is being built each day from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. They can also attend a Lunch & Learn HabiTour, or attend the Habitat House Party on Thursday evening.
Folks can also follow the progress at Facebook.com/TrinityHabitat.