By Melanie Angel
I never foresaw myself living in the “city.” Fort Worth always seemed crowded to me. It’s too expensive and everyone seems to be too close together. Growing up in Azle, I envisioned myself settling on a small plot of land in the country without a soul in sight for at least an acre.
I grew up on a large property with peach trees all around me. My childhood was full of tree climbing, racing around open fields and nice Southern suppers. Although we didn’t have much growing up, my great-grandmother, Elda Arlene Moon, always found a way to make us the best sweet tea and home-cooked meals anyone could ask for. She was the highlight of my childhood, and I owe her for all of the talents and morals she passed down to me. I am most grateful for her because she was present in my childhood and, because of her, I had a stable home to grow up in. I had the “outdoor” childhood where I could play outside without a care in the world.
My great-grandmother always inspired me to want a stable home, a home to leave to my children, a place they can count on, a place that would hold a special place in their hearts. She was a single mom of four who made it happen, so why can’t I? This statement became more and more true, and I wanted it more than ever.
When I had my first child in 2018, I promised him, and myself, that I would do whatever it took to get us a place to call home.
I had two more children: my daughter, who was born in 2020, and my youngest son, who was born in 2022. Having more children has been the biggest blessing in my life, but it has also made my dream of giving them a home harder for me to reach. I knew I would get there one day, but it seemed impossible as a single mom, working two jobs, barely getting by. How would I be able to afford a down payment on a house? How could I afford a home in this rising market? How could I find the time to become knowledgeable on the journey to becoming a homeowner. I felt defeated.
In early 2022, I began working at a bank. After getting to know all my co-workers and becoming close with them, I expressed my goal of becoming a homeowner. Every day, I saw customers coming in talking about their homes, some getting new mortgages and some getting home improvement loans to fix up their places.
That environment kept pushing me to start seeking help. Chance would have it, one of my co-workers volunteered for Habitat for Humanity with her husband. She started talking to me about it, and her husband even took time out of his day to teach me about my credit. This lovely couple put a vision in my mind to make my dream a reality. They helped me get started and encouraged me to keep pushing forward as I started my journey. I am so grateful to the Torres family for inspiring me and blessing my children and me. I would never have gotten this far without them.
After a lot of hard work, I found myself not only being accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program, but I ended up being the recipient of the 1000th house built by Trinity Habitat. The program has put me through several classes in order to understand the process and learn how to be successful with my new home.
I am excited to be a part of the building process, having a house built with Habitat means you get to be on the construction site, building along with the professionals and volunteers.
I have met so many amazing individuals during this process. I never knew community and neighbors could be such a lovely thing. I always thought it was best to stay on my little piece of land and keep to myself. But the journey has opened my mind and it has pulled my heart to do more in the community.
I want to give back like all of those who are investing time into my home and my family. I want to learn about my new neighborhood and understand what it’s like to be a homeowner with neighbors. I want to get to know my local small businesses and support them. I want to make a difference in Fort Worth.
I feel overwhelmed by this new chapter in my life, and I feel a sense of accomplishment for finding a way to reach my dream.
Words could not express my feeling of love and gratitude for you all. I will be living in the Riverside neighborhood. It may not be the fanciest area and it may not be the country farm I always wanted, but it’s full of life and character and there are so many wholesome people just around the corner. The culture is rich and the people are hard workers. The city of Fort Worth is my reality.
Melanie Angel is a single mother of three. She works as a restaurant server and as a banker while attending Tarrant County College to become an English as a second language teacher.
Total population: 3,002
Female: 53% | Male: 47%
80 and older: 5%
No degree: 6%
High school: 38%
Some college: 24%
Bachelor’s degree: 27%
White: 90% | Asian: 0% | Hispanic: 9% | Black: 0% | Two or more: 1%
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