The Worth of Community

Closed Caption Transcript:

Hi, my name is Nicole Henry,

and I'm a current resident and lifelong
citizen of Fort Worth, Texas.

I love my city.

One of the things I love most about

my city is the neighborhood I grew up in,
the Eastwood community.

I can remember as a middle schooler

and a high schooler,
the sense of belonging that was there

among the people on my street,
the people at my church,

the teachers and the parents
at the schools I went to,

there was just a sense of togetherness
and understanding, a support that even

though it was mostly unspoken,
you knew you weren't alone.

I miss that sense of community.

I've often heard 
people say that while I've

gotten myself together, others
 have to take care of their own families.

 Or I just have
to mind my business. It's not my concern

what's happening with my 
neighbor next door

or in my neighbor's
house next door.

But I disagree with that.

I think in community
we are meant to support each other.

To care for each other.
To look out for each other.

And that means sharing in our resources.

That means sharing in our successes.

That means when someone else is in need
that we do what we can to help them.

That's why I started Shared Worth.

In 2019, we launched
Shared Worth of Tarrant County.

Shared Worth is a non-profit that provides
affordable housing options

for our citizens in our county.

The reality is that in Tarrant County,

for a single parent with two children
to make basic needs...

That's rent, utilities, groceries.
In order just to meet those basic needs,

that parent would have to make
at least twenty two dollars an hour.


that's not the reality for many of our
workers here in Tarrant County.

If that parent makes minimum wage,

he or she would have to work 121 hours
a week to meet those basic needs.

For our senior citizens living on
retirement pensions or widow's benefits,

that story is much bleaker.

They are spending over 60 percent of their

fixed income on meeting basic needs,
which doesn't give them the opportunity

when there increases in their
utilities, prescription costs or

unexpected household
repairs or car repairs.

It doesn't give them the opportunity
to meet those needs.

Instead, it puts them
into a spiral downward.

So I started Shared Worth to provide
affordable housing options.

We have three programs.

The first launched in 2019 
and that's shared housing.

Shared housing matches a homeowner
who we call house rich, but money poor.

That's that widow. 
That's that retired individual

that's now living on a single fixed income

but has a house that's paid for.

So they have a home.

But now, because they are on fixed income,

they can't meet the basic 
necessities of caring for that home

and other needs that you need daily.

So we match them with a woman or a man

that is either single unaccompanied
or have one or two children.

We've matched them together

and that seeker
comes in and pays a low rent.

And that provides that seeker 
with the low rent,

affordable, safe place to stay

while they're in school,

while they're taking classes 
to increase their earning potential,

while they're paying down debt.

And then it provides that homeowner

additional income to meet
their basic needs.

Our second program is called Co-Share.

That's where we match two or three 
single individuals

and they decide 
to come in and find a rental property

and share the expenses equally.
Kind of like a Golden Girls situation.

And then after third program that we hope
to launch soon is called Shared Community.

And this is where we are very
intentional in creating community.

That community I spoke about earlier.

There, we'll purchase fourplexes and duplexes

and each of those units we will place

individuals that agree to live
intentionally in community.

So what does that mean?

That means in one unit of that duplex,
we may have two single women

that are sharing the rental cost
and the household expenses for that unit.

And then in the second unit, we place 
a single mom with two or three children

and those two households
agree to support each other.

So the two senior women

may provide a home cooked meal 

for that single mom that's working full time

and trying to manage
to care for her three children.

And then for that single mom.

She then gets the support
of the two older women as well...

By maybe they help get
the children off the bus

while mom is still at work.

But then she provides errands 
and other support,

maybe household chores
to those two senior women.

So it's a give and take situation,
but it's meant to be community

because that's what community is
about, give and take.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible 
that I like to share,

is the story of Cain and Abel.

And if you heard it, don't worry,
I won't go into details.

But between those two brothers, there was
jealousy and one harmed the other.

And when asked where his brother was,
Cain replied, Am I my brother's keeper?

Well, that paradigm still exists today.

That I just have to worry about myself.

I can't worry about others. I have
to worry about my own household.

If I made it, they can work
hard and make it, too.

But the truth is,

we're not playing on a level playing field.

And we do have to help each other.

We do have to be intentional and share
our resources and support one another.

And that's why I created Shared Worth.

Because as a community member

I felt a strong sense of responsibility 
in helping care for my neighbors

and helping make sure that my neighbors

and even those that I
don't know have the opportunity

that I have, that my family have,
to be successful, to be happy.

Everybody deserves a safe,
stable place to live.

Am I my brothers and sisters keeper?

Yes, I am.

And you are, too.

Have a great day.