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Home sweet home: Helping build a Habitat for Humanity home

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: January 26, 2021
UT Physicians/UTHealth employees on Habitat build site

Employees from UTHealth and UT Physicians participated in the 2021 Houston Habitat for Humanity home build. (Photo by Kim Kham, UT Physicians)

UTHealth and UT Physicians are proud to once again be the title sponsor for the annual Houston Habitat for Humanity home build, hosted by KPRC – TV Channel 2. After the difficult year experienced by health care workers across the globe, it was the perfect way to reconnect and give back to the community we serve.

Erik B. Wikson, MD
Erik B. Wikson, MD

“Having our organization sponsor an event like this and getting to volunteer for it is a very personal thing,” said Erik B. Wilson, MD, professor of surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and surgeon with UT Physicians. “It’s also just a lot of fun. I get to put my hands to work, but in a different way.”

Building a home

Bundled up for the cold and wearing masks for protection, volunteers representing both UT Physicians and UTHealth arrived at the build site on Thursday, Jan. 14, with a mission in mind – to help build a home.

Due to safety precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some things were a little different this year.

“We have implemented some precautions because of the virus to keep our volunteers and staff safe,” said David Soto, community engagement and Veterans Build manager with Houston Habitat for Humanity. “All supplies, like gloves, hard hats, and eye protection, are sanitized and we have reduced the amount of people allowed on our sites.”

Working in shifts, the crew spent nearly eight hours installing framework. The walls were constructed days prior by the KPRC-TV team at a separate location. At the end of a long and fulfilling day, the walls of someone’s future home were proudly on display.

A surprise reveal

Besides UT Physicians/UTHealth employees, volunteers that day included a team from Houston Habitat for Humanity with one special person – the future homeowner. Unbeknownst to Alma Armendaris, she was participating in the construction of the house for herself and her two daughters.

For the past year, Armendaris has worked toward the goal of homeownership through her partnership with Houston Habitat for Humanity. To be considered a potential recipient of a Habitat home, an individual must meet certain requirements, including participating in 250 hours of “sweat equity” – building homes for others.

As a single mother, this opportunity means the world to Armendaris.

“Having a home for my daughters is what pushed me to do this. We’ve been living in a one-bedroom apartment for years,” she said. “To say thank you to Houston Habitat and their community partners is not enough. This goal – owning a home – is a difficult one to achieve, but it’s possible if you work for it.”

Construction on the 2021 Houston Habitat for Humanity home will continue over the next several months. Stay tuned for updates along the way.

View our photo gallery from the build day.

2021 Houston Habitat for Humanity Home Build

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.