History of Project Build A Future
Early in 2001, an article in The Houston Chronicle stirred interest in Fr. Henry Mancuso, Pastor of Sacred Catholic Heart Church north of Broad Street in Lake Charles. The front page article described the work of Houston-area Churches in building quality, affordable housing. Fr. Mancuso asked the simple question, “Why can’t that be done here?” The people in the Lake Charles community seemed to need housing while there were blighted properties and empty lots near the church that could be perfect for new home construction. After an initial discussion with Mr. Willie King, a local businessman and parishioner of Sacred Heart, and a second encouraging discussion with Mayor Randy Roach, the necessary “paper work began.”. On August, 24, 2001 PROJECT BUILD A FUTURE officially came into existence.
Why the name Project Build a Future?
Fr. Mancuso felt that home ownership could well be the beginning of building personal futures for many people. Home ownership would provide both the social capital and a source of wealth [equity] upon which people could literally and figuratively build a better future.
Project Build a Future builds homes that provide hope and opportunity for people dreaming of homeownership. While affordability is a cornerstone of PBAF’s program, it is not what defines our work…..quality is what defines our work. We strive to build a home that is a beautiful fixture in our community providing a source of pride and hope for our homebuyers, as well as an opportunity for permanent financial stability.
In addition, PBAF offers homebuyer counseling services that lay a solid foundation for financial success for our homebuyers which strengthens their ability to be successful over the longterm. In fact, PBAF has seen NO foreclosures on any of its homes since our inception in 2001.
Our mission is simple: Engage in quality, affordable homeownership initiatives that will revitalize and beautify our target area.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
- Luvertha August—Vice-President
- Irven Guillory—member
- Henry Mancuso—President
- Tom Filo—Secretary
- Byron Hardy—member
- Brad Evans—Treasurer
- Brenda Hill--member
- Charla Blake—Executive Director
Charla Blake, originally from Cameron, moved back to SWLA in 2012, after teaching interior design for twenty years in Dallas, Texas. With degrees in architecture, and a passion for arts and culture, place-making, place-attachment, and creative communities, Charla began working with several local non-profit organizations as a way to make a difference. "Joining Project Build a Future in 2017," Blake says, "has been a dream come true. We don't just build houses, we help to build homes and strengthen communities, and that's a win-win for everyone."
- Lee Savario—Project Manager
Lee Savario was born and raised in Lake Charles, but lived for several years in Kentucky and Tennessee. During her tenure in Kentucky, Lee began working as a mortgage loan processor. In Tennesee, Lee began working on the title side of the mortgage process. After spending approximately 12 years in this industry, Lee moved back to Lake Charles in 2008, after her daughter graduated high school, and began working with Project Build a Future in the Spring of 2009 as a way to help with property purchases as part of a hurricane recovery program. Lee currently manages the new construction projects, and also manages the home purchase process, walking clients through the mortgage process with the banks. Lee believes firmly in the mission of PBAF and says, “I have been blessed to be a small part of this wonderful organization.”
- Renee Davis—Homebuyer Counselor
Renee Davis has been a resident of Lake Charles for the last 49 years. She is a married, God fearing mother of 2 sons and grandparent to 5 wonderful children. Renee has been employed through Project Build a Future since 2011, and says, “I live to serve God and feel honored to be a part of His great work by helping low income families through financial education and credit counseling become proud homeowners.”
- Roy Ned—Maintenance Coordinator
Mr. Ned oversees all maintenance for PBAF owned homes while also assisting in new construction projects as needed. Roy is a resident of the PBAF target area and is always eager to assist in improving his community.
- Paula Viator—Bookkeeper
- Annette Lafleur—Receptionist
Annette LaFleur is PBAF's Part-time Receptionist. She has been married to Laral LaFleaur for 55 plus years, is the mother of 3 children, and a grandmother to 3 wonderful grandchildren.
- Alyssa Harris- Program Assistant
Alyssa Harris is a lifelong resident of Lake Charles, and just recently joined the PBAF team. She and her family purchased a PBAF home in 2013. Alyssa is always willing and eager to help our clients achieve their dream of homeownership, helping to make it become a reality!