Although she had to be at work around noon, there were not many things that could have prevented Tyler resident Cheslie Thompson from showing up 716 W. Queen St. at 11:30 on Wednesday for the ribbon-cutting on her new home.
The open house and ceremony celebrated the completion of the 54th PATH Community Home in Tyler, where Ms. Thompson will live with her two children as participants of PATH — People Attempting to Help.
Ms. Thompson was so happy to be at the event which was also hosted by the Contact Club of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce — she could hardly put her emotions into words.
"I'm just (so) excited right now," Ms. Thompson said. "I don't know what to say. It's a blessing."
The home was constructed with HUD funds through the Home Community Housing Development Organization and collaboration between PATH, Tyler Community Homes and the city of Tyler.
PATH Community Homes are used as a component of the PATH Transitional Housing Program, a two-year program where participants are able to rent homes at deeply discounted rates, work with a case manager to set and meet goals and receive a variety of other services that help them become self-sufficient.
PATH Executive Director Greg Grubb said completion of the 54th PATH Community Home is a milestone for the organization and people they serve.
"It allows them to live in safe, decent and affordable housing while they're doing the hard work to improve their family's situation," Grubb said. "Because of that impact on each family, that's what makes it a milestone for PATH as well. It's the only reason we exist."
Grubb said PATH serves 500 families a week that visit the facility looking for some form of immediate assistance.
Those in the Transitional Housing Program are screened and accepted to the program based on their financial qualifications and after review by a case manager, who determines if they are ready to be in the program.
Those who are accepted into the program commit to working toward goals they set with their PATH case manager. The program is designed to help clients move into market-rate rental housing, or achieve home ownership in 18 to 24 months.
Grubb said he's very proud of Ms. Thompson's commitment to bettering herself in the program and is especially appreciative of days like Wednesday when PATH is able to bring joy to the families they serve.
"We go through some hard days sometimes, and the successes are sometimes few and far between," Grubb said. "We are really thrilled to see a plan come together and see a family impacted."
Ms. Thompson said she believes the home provided by PATH will help her family in multiple ways.
"In being successful," Ms. Thompson said. "Having my own place. Just being successful."