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1 merced housıng texas Changing homes...changing neighborhoods...changing lives April 2006 (SOS) in SOS Ms. Adela Rodriguez gets around by way of a wheel chair. For 87 years, she has lived on a small farm near Stahl Road in the San Antonio city limits that has seen growth and development around her. Ms. Rodriguez s house once served as a school where her mother taught her and other relatives, including children from the area. She remembers learning in an environment that was warm and inviting to everyone that attended. Her home is a part of her life that will always stay in her heart. It is for this reason that Ms. Rodriguez wants to stay in her home even though she has been without water for over five months. Ms. Rodriguez s primary source of water is a well that was constructed decades Ms. Rodriguez s well ago. However, the well has stopped working. Ms. Rodriguez s cousin, Minnie, visits her from time to time, and knew something had to be done. She contacted SAWS for assistance and Humberto Ramos, Community Relations Representative, not only took the call, but took on a big challenge. Mr. Ramos began to search for any solution. He remembered Merced Housing Texas Serve Our Seniors (SOS) program which provides emergency repair work to elderly and disabled low income households. Mr. Ramos contacted Susan R. Sheeran, President of Merced, to find out if Ms. Rodriguez would qualify for the SOS program. Ms. Sheeran agreed to repair the well and Merced contracted Haskins Pump & Drilling Service to authorize the installation of a new motor and pump. But there was still no water. Haskins Pump Service determined that an outdated electrical meter posed the problem. Merced then authorized Carlos Castro with Tomas Eggers Service to install a new meter, but when he arrived, an active bee hive created another dilemma. So Accurate Pest and Weed Control was contracted to remove the bees, thus allowing the new meter installation. Sandra Lott and Debbie Martinez of CPS Energy also helped by making the CPS update to the new meter move swiftly. But there was still no water. Our Mission Merced then authorized Haskins Pump Service to place a camera down the well. Haskins found that the well had collapsed with sediment and they attempted to flush it out. But there was still no water. Merced Housing Texas Humberto Ramos, who continued to help Ms. Rodriguez daily by taking gallons of fresh water to her home, pleaded once last time to SAWS for assistance. His tireless efforts were recognized by SAWS and they agreed to provide a water connection and spread the cost of the impact fee over a period of time. Mr. Ramos quickly contacted Merced once again to ask for assistance to have a plumber connect the water line from the new meter to the home. Merced agreed and contacted Gilbert Plumbing to make the water connection. Today, at least, Ms. Rodriguez has water. mission is to create and strengthen healthy communities through the provision of quality, affordable, service enriched housing for individuals and families who are economically poor. The SOS program Merced created has helped almost 100 seniors to date. In its 4 th year, the program continues to help those like Ms. Rodriguez. But like her water well, the SOS well has run dry. Merced is out of funds for the program. Your support for the SOS program will help the many seniors who are currently on the waiting list. They desperately need your help. Every time we take a drink of water, we should remember Ms. Rodriguez s story. Those with little or no means still have a right to suitable living conditions. Our hope is to continue the SOS program for many years to come and your donation will not be forgotten.

2 April Page 2 President s Message Spring is upon us and here at Merced Housing Texas we have seen changes like the season itself. Communications Manager Sue Yip and Office Manager/ Secretary Lou Walters Caldwell departed Merced at the end of We miss Sue and Lou very much and appreciate all of their contributions to Merced. In January, we welcomed Roy Galvan as Communications/ Grants Manager and David Espinoza as Operations Manager. Roy s previous experience includes over 25 years in broadcasting and journalism. His friendly personality and personal dedication enhance our capacity to meet our mission to help low income seniors and families with safe and affordable housing. David s education and experience includes working for former Mayor Ed Garza of San Antonio. He too, is passionate about enhancing the quality of life in San Antonio. I add a personal plea for help for our Serve Our Seniors Program. We are out of funds. We receive calls every day for help and it breaks our hearts to turn people down. Merced Housing Texas Founders Congregation of Benedictine Sisters Congregation of Divine Providence Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of charity.org Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate Associate Congregations Congregation of St. Brigid Daughters of Mary Immaculate Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament Ursuline Nuns of San Antonio Merced Housing Board of Directors Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP, Chair Sister Rose Ann Aguilar, DC, Vice Chair Sister Mary Louise Barba, MCDP Jennifer Bligh, Esq. Rebecca Brune Sister Veronica S. Cahill, SHSp Elizabeth Castillo Paul G. Cuellar Larry Hufford, Ph.D. Sister Carol Ann Jokerst, CCVI Sister Susan Mika, OSB Merced Staff Susan R. Sheeran President Edgar T. Sandoval Vice President Development/Asset Management Ivy R. Taylor Vice President Resident Services David Espinoza Secretary Operations Manager Sister Imelda González, CDP Treasurer (volunteer) Judy Allen Chief Financial Officer Roy Galvan Communications Manager Sister Jo Marie Arredondo, SHF Administrative Assistant Casimiro CB Briseño Rehabilitation Specialist Resident Services Coordinators Cynthia Broadnax Artisan at Willow Springs Janice Hardeman Artisan at Salado Creek Lucero Gomez Rancho Sierra Interns Tom Mole Amy Vokes

3 April Page 3 Herman 24/7 Katrina Residents Revisited Herman Pembrook gazes out from his Avion Place apartment with a huge smile on his face. I love San Antonio, he says as walks out to check his mail, chat with other residents and begins a new chapter full of hope. Mr. Pembrook was one of thousands of people that were evacuated from New Orleans, only six months ago. I don t think I will ever forget that time. It will always be there in the back of my mind, Herman recalls. Today, from one of America s worst disasters, Herman is proud to be a San Antonio resident. Everyone here at Avion Place has been wonderful. Without them (Avion Place) and Merced Housing, I wouldn t have all this, he states looking out of his one bedroom loft. Mr. Pembrook was featured in last November s newsletter with his story of hope. He is continuing that story months later by working with Katrina evacuee residents in the Avion community. I tell everyone that they can call me 24/7, Herman I am spreading His (God) love and trying to help those that are deal ing wi th the emotional stress of being in a new place. Herman states as he talks about helping those find answers and doing God s work. I asked God for help and he delivered. I am spreading his love and trying to help those that are dealing with the emotional stress of being in a new place. With previous experience in law enforcement, security and management, Herman is using the tools to help people find comfort nearly 500 miles away from home. His passion is working with others and helping them in times when they themselves are seeking answers. For the future, Herman only sees continuing his calling. I have closed that chapter in my life in New Orleans, but will never forget. I will stay here and find work doing what I love, helping others, he says. A resident of San Antonio, voter registered and thankful for being alive, Herman grows as each new day offers more than he had once hoped. If it wasn t for the hurricane (Katrina), I wouldn t be here right now, home. Susan Sheeran, & Obie Molette President Merced Housing Texas Obie One and Only Obie Molette smiles from ear to ear as she talks about her new job. I love my job, she exclaims recalling the events that brought her to Avion Place Apartments and finding a new home. Obie began her journey to San Antonio by evacuating New Orleans with her aging mother and 13 year old daughter to avoid the destruction the city would face with Hurricane Katrina last fall. I was scared for me and my family. This Texas native, who was born in Beaumont, grew up in New Orleans for over 25 years. After the storm hit, she left everything she knew for safety and a peace of mind. We were lucky to have family in San Antonio, but there was hardly enough room for all of us, she says. My sister took us in here (San Antonio), but I wanted more for us. With determination to make a new start, Obie walked to the San Antonio Housing Authority to find a place for her and her daughter. I told them I had evacuated from New Orleans and they gave me help by sending me to Avion. I came here and met the staff and Susan and I remember asking Susan for a job, she explains. With the help of Alamo Work Source, I got a job here! I was so happy because now I could get a bigger place at Avion and start making a home. Obie is grateful for all the work Merced and Avion Place has done with the Katrina evacuees and has no plans to move back to New Orleans. Although the funding ran out from the Alamo Work Source for her position at Avion Place, she did not give up. Obie continued to believe in San Antonio and believe in herself. I know I don t want to go back (New Orleans). She now has a job at Wal Mart and is here to stay. I got everything here and I am just living one day at a time. Welcome home Obie.

4 April Page 4 Thomas Destor outside his new apartment. Katrina Residents (continued from page 3) Thomas the Great Thomas Destor is quite a character. Not only does he have a way with words, he also had a purpose in New Orleans, until the storm hit last August. Mr. Destor is now a San Antonio resident trying to find his way in a new town. Avion Place is wonderful, he explains. In New Orleans, I had part time jobs helping businesses get their word, living in the streets from time to time, but that was home. Here I am now in a new place, but I m safe. Months after leaving New Orleans, Thomas is adjusting to life in San Antonio, living at Avion Place Apartments. Although he misses his home town, he is happy to have a place to stay. He keeps the Avion Place staff in his daily routine with visits to Kristin Evans, Resident Services Coordinator, at least twice a day. Mr. Destor has shown us nothing but respect and gratefulness for what he now has here at Avion, Ms. Evans replied. He helped with the Blue Santa this past Christmas and gave the children presents. He even gave the staff presents. While Thomas waits for FEMA and the federal government s continued assistance, he has applied with SAHA, seeking permanent housing. I would like to stay here at Avion, because the community and staff are great, he says. He recently was hired through the Alamo Work Source at Avion Place and helps make sure that the community he lives in is nice and clean. This charismatic individual, who had meaning miles away, is spreading his warmth with the people of Avion Place. He still dreams big and promises one thing, If I win the lotto, I am going to give most of it to children who need help. Though Mr. Destor has lost his home miles and miles away, he has not lost his compassion and faith. Pillar of Strength Donna Tucker is a strong individual. Originally from Philadelphia, she served in the United States Navy for several years before attending and graduating from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. Ms. Tucker graduated with a BA in History and double Minor in Education and German. She then taught World Geography at O Perry Walker High School, in New Orleans and had just begun her 9 th year just before Hurricane Katrina hit. I weighed my options about staying or leaving the city right before Katrina hit us, Donna explained. Her family was no stranger to taking what she referred to as, hurricane vacations. My son and I left two years earlier for one of these vacations and I thought that the same would hold true for this one. But there was Donna Tucker behind her desk at work. something different about this storm, she recalls. So Donna and her 18 year old son packed their clothes and small items from their home to come to San Antonio and stay near her daughter who was stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center. Fortunately, Ms. Tucker s daughter knew of a friend in the military who opened her door to Katrina evacuees. Ms. Sanders did not know me or my son and she gave us the key to her home, no questions asked. Grateful for the hospitality, Donna knew that San Antonio would possibly be their new home. After seeing the devastation New Orleans suffered, Donna knew that she would once again have to have a game plan and start over. Her first goal was to find a permanent home. I was one of the first evacuees to find an apartment with Artisan at Salado Creek, she explains. Shortly after, she began working as a substitute teacher for SAISD and awaits her next career move. Donna has continued to move forward despite the obstacles she and her family has faced over the past year. I use God as my strength. I am where I am today with the good Lord s guidance. As for staying in San Antonio, Donna says you can bet on it. I fell in love with San Antonio. This is my new home.

5 April Page 5 Donors from November 1, 2005 through April 1, 2006 Special Gifts In Memory Of Reynaldo & Sara Armendariz Donald J. Gonzales Cresencia Arredondo Sister Jo Marie Arredondo, SHF Emily Barta Sister Alexia Vinklarek, Lucy Castillo Yolanda Courvier Emma Conquest James Conquest Sister Irene Craser, CDP Sister Mary Jane Bell, CDP Adelina A. Davila Susan R. Sheeran Ruth Harsh Gilliland Susan R. Sheeran Tom Pletcher Sister Eugenia Ann Stell, CDP Ivory Sidberry Merced Staff Jackie Simmer Frances V. Sheeran Mother of Susan Strong Merced Staff Siobhan C Stuart Sister Margaret Carew Bonnie L. Thilman John V. Thilman Peg Weber Frances V. Sheeran & Kay Zeder Katie & Ludwig Zimmerer Sister M. Benedict Zimmerer, CDP Special Gifts In Honor Of Kevin & Joan Ankram Sandra & Jack Ellis Sister Jo Marie Arredondo, SHF Sister Ann Maureen Murphy, SHF Willie Sworn, US Army RTR Deborah Hurst Sister Mary Teresa Cullen Sister Veronica Dobson Sister Kieran O Shaughnessy Sister Bernadette Fogarty Sister Imelda Phlean Sister Teresa Carter Sister Winnie Dillon Sister Canice Walsh Sister Virgil Fogarty Sister Stephanie Deegan Joann & Patrick Hopkins Clayton & Macell Mangold Susan & Jim Bob Merchant Sister Cabrini Cahill, CSB & Sister Margaret Doyle, CSB Sue Yip Lou Walters Caldwell Merced Staff End of the Year Appeal Serve Our Seniors Individuals Amber E. Alonso Bob Ashcroft Mr. & Mrs. Cosmo F. Guido Frances M. Guzman William & Elaine Heidelmeier Nettie P. Hinton Sister Assunta Labrado, CDP David McQuade Leibowitz George Ozuna, Jr. Sister Edith Louise Pastore M. F. & Helen F. Rundell Pati & Larry Semander Sister Henrietta Schroeder, CDP Sarah B. Smith Virginia Van Steenberg Emily D. Thuss John R. Wilson Corporations, Foundations, and Other Groups Briones Consulting & Engineering, LTD Holy Name Catholic Church Kiolbassa Provision Company Sacred Heart Church Other Contributions Individuals Anonymous Judy Allen Sister Jo Marie Arredondo, SHF Jennifer Bligh, Esq. Sister Rita Bily, CDP Clifton J. & Rosalie R. Bolner Sister Angelia Breaux, CDP Grace Buckley Charles and Leticia Cortines Catherine Fuhrmann Sister Mary R. Glenn, CDP Sister Roberta Haby, CDP Gregory Hasty Stacy & Dianne Hunt Deborah Hurst Sister Beatrice Ann Kainer, CDP Susan Klein Sister Margeta Krchnak Sister Rose Anthony McClosky, OLVM Mark W. Muecke Mary Mueller Victor Quiroga Edgar T. Sandoval Nedra San Filippo Sister Sylvia Schmidt, SFCC T. M. Smith Henry Tatum Sister Agnes Thevis, CDP Frances V. Sheeran Susan R. Sheeran Corporations, Foundations, and Other Groups Brigidine Sisters Carneiro, Chumney & Co James R. Dougherty, Jr. Foundation Inc. Fannie Mae Foundation Frost Bank Grande Communications Koinonia Community of the Congregation of Divine Providence The Meadows Foundation Ministry Support Fund Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate Moye Community of the Congregation of Divine Providence Myra Stafford Pryor Charitable Trust The Genevieve and Ward Orsinger Foundation San Antonio Federal Credit Union Silver Ventures, Inc. Sisters of the Holy Family St. John the Apostle Church United Way/Bexar County Charitable Campaign Rachel & Ben Vaughan Foundation Marjorie T. Walthall Perpetual Charitable Fund Washington Mutual Wells Fargo Foundation

6 April Page 6 Meet the Resident Services Coordinators Kristin Evans Kristin Evans is an unofficial mom to some of the residents she assists at Avion Place Apartments. Her official title is Resident Services Coordinator which entails offering referrals, programs, activities and other social services to the over 500 residents. With a BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan, Kristin started working at Avion last February as an employee of Encore Management. One of her goals was to quickly become visible to the residents and work closely with Ivy Taylor, Vice President and Director of Resident Services, for Merced Housing Texas. I sent letters to the residents introducing myself, explaining services out there for them, and made sure to be out in the community and not behind my desk all day. Within weeks, the community saw programs and activities in place to help strengthen a diverse population. Though, the community would soon see a change. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, San Antonio quickly answered the call. Andrew Cameron, Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of San Antonio, convened a meeting to find out San Antonio s housing resources. Susan R. Sheeran and Ivy R. Taylor of Merced, were in attendance and knew that Merced would be able to assist. They contacted Encore Management, which operates Avion Place Apartments with the hopes of moving evacuees to Avion. Within days, Avion had a booth set up at Kelly Air Force Base to sign apartment contracts for evacuees. Close to 70 units were leased and recent evacuees found shelter in a community that welcomed them with open arms. When Katrina hit New Orleans and Avion opened its doors, I went into crisis management, Kristin tells. People were without basic everyday items. From clothes to furniture, people were in dire need. Management staff held meetings regarding important information about FEMA guidelines and changes. The Center for Health Care Services went door to door to provide information to the new residents and other activities were created to help with the evacuees transition. I made sure that through community activities, we would ease any tension that might have existed within the community. Clothing and food donations helped the evacuees find some normalcy hundreds of miles away from their home. Today Kristin continues to provide services to all residents at Avion Place. She sees the difference in the community as a symbol of strength, however, there is still a need. My goal is to remove the label of evacuee from the new residents and start looking towards the future in this community. We will get there, together as a community. Cynthia Broadnax Bencomo Cynthia is a new staff member of Merced. She is the Resident Services Coordinator for the Artisan at Willow Springs Apartments, near the at&t Center. With experience in Social Work and a degree in Psychology, Cynthia came with knowledge and understanding of working with others in a time of need. Previously, her passion led her to volunteer when Hurricane Katrina evacuees were sheltered at Windsor Park Mall and that same desire to help would lead her to Merced. When Artisan at Willow Springs opened and Katrina residents quickly moved in, Ivy R. Taylor, Vice President of Merced, acknowledged the need for a Coordinator at the community. Though the property was in a lease up phase, a Resident Services Coordinator was needed to help with the transition the new residents were facing, Taylor explains. So in October of 2005, Cynthia was hired by Merced to assist the residents and establish a feeling of home. It was a brand new community and residents were unsure of what my role was, Cynthia recalls. I literally just walked the property. I made sure that everyone saw me and got to know me as I walked by them and I let everyone know that my door is always open to them. Flyers were sent out and Cynthia quickly assessed the needs of the community. I wanted to make sure that everyone in the community would feel at home. So I started from scratch and knew I had to build everyone s trust by getting them involved with life at this wonderful community, Cynthia explains. She noticed the emotional needs of some of the Louisiana residents were not being met and brought in bible study groups and parenting classes to help focus on those needs. Today, there are many activities to be found at Willow Springs. From Senior Citizen luncheons to tutorial and Girl Scout meetings, Cynthia recognizes the need for constant involvement. I have to be hands on and if that means that I drive someone to that interview or pick up the phone for them to make that call, I will do it. She feels that healing is in the touch and at Willow Springs, her touch is one of a kind.

7 April Page 7 Artisan at Salado Creek Apartments 3644 Binz Engleman, San Antonio, TX 200 units Manager Courtney Valenti, United Apartment Group 210/ / Community Center Artisan at Willow Springs Apartments 535 Gembler Road, San Antonio, TX 248 units Manager Alma Guillen, United Apartment Group 210/ / Community Center Avion Place Apartments 5470 SW Military Dr., San Antonio, TX 477 units Manager Jackie Foreman, Encore Management Company 210/ / Community Center Bellshire Apartments 800 Bellshire Dr., Conroe, TX 312 units Manager Linda Belk, Greystar 936/ Office Merced Housing Texas Multifamily Properties 936/ Community Center Eleanor Place Apartments 324 Eleanor Ave., San Antonio, TX (under reconstruction) Elmhurst Place Apartments 130 Elmhurst Ave., San Antonio, TX 23 units Manager Sandra Lane, Encore Management Company 210/ Riversquare Apartment Homes River Run, Corpus Christi, TX 204 units Manager Connie La Brenz, Alpha Barnes 361/ Stablewood Farms Apartment Homes 8301 Lake Vista Dr., San Antonio, TX 252 units Manager Veronica Martinez Encore Management Company 210/ Office 210/ Community Center The City of San Antonio, Department of Housing and Community Development is hosting the 5 th Annual Housing Summit July 18 21, 2006 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The theme this year is Building Communities on Solid Foundations. The Summit will include networking opportunities, General Session speakers who are experts in the housing industry, over 20 informative concurrent sessions, Historic District bus tours, an Exhibit Hall featuring quality and innovative products and services, Lowes How To Clinics, First Time Homebuyer Courses, Environmental Review Training and the 5 th Annual Housing Pioneer Awards Luncheon as well as recognition of the winners of the Housing Summit Art Contest. Registration information will be coming to you soon or you can review a detailed agenda on the Housing and Community Development website at in June. KUDOS Encore Women s Resale and to Encore Management for making our spring rummage sale a success! Make a difference! Please select Merced Housing Texas when you contribute to a United Way campaign. Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) #3169 State Employee Charitable Campaign # Bexar County Government #8052 City of San Antonio #8052 Combined School District #8052

8 April 2006 Non Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit No San Antonio, Texas HOUSING TEXAS 212 West Laurel San Antonio, Texas / / fax Return Service Requested BECOME A MEMBER OF THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM! Support our mission of providing quality, affordable, service enriched housing for economically poor families, seniors, and persons with special needs. YES! I am making a contribution to Merced Housing Texas: $1,000 $500 $250 $100 $50 $35 $ My gift is for Serve Our Seniors for Operations in honor of in memory of Acknowledge to Name Address City/State/Zip Phone E Mail Address Fax Thank you for your generous contribution, which is tax deductible to the extent of the law. Or donate online at

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