• Fifth Ward CRC

Bridgette Steele Helps Build and Grow Houston’s Fifth Ward

Justin Jones, Communications and Outreach

February 08, 2019

Black History Month: Celebrating Our Own Bridgette Steele is honored as the Houston Branch’s Volunteer of the Year during the Bank’s 2018 Volunteer Fair.

Home is where the heart is. In Houston, that soft spot for Bridgette Steele is the Fifth Ward, one of the city’s most known African-American communities.

This historic community is where the Houston Branch support services specialist has lived the majority of her life and where she is a longtime volunteer and board member for the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation (CRC). For the past 20 years, Bridgette has helped the Fifth Ward CRC provide real estate development, homeownership and preservation, and community and supportive services in her community.

“The Fifth Ward is good place to live, work and play," Bridgette said. “When I saw how the Fifth Ward CRC was educating people on homeownership, I got involved to help as many people as possible. To see families get their first home is very heartwarming.”

Making a Difference

This year, the Fifth Ward CRC will celebrate its 30-year anniversary and its numerous transformative projects that have helped to propel the community forward—many in which Bridgette has played a role. Of note is the area’s multimillion-dollar Lyons Avenue Renaissance development strategy.

Another recent example of the Fifth Ward CRC’s impact is its response to Hurricane Harvey. Serving as the headquarters for disaster recovery in the Fifth Ward, the Fifth Ward CRC and its volunteers continue to help families in need.

“Whatever was and still is needed, the Fifth Ward CRC is here to help our neighbors,” Bridgette said. “When someone needs assistance in this community, the Fifth Ward CRC is where they go.”

And to Bridgette, that is the most gratifying part of working with the Fifth Ward CRC.

“People like Martin Luther King Jr. did so much to help people and fight for issues that needed to be addressed,” Bridgette said. “To be here for someone in need and to give back to my community represents the spirt of Black History Month and those who paved the way for me to help make a difference.”

The Fifth Ward CRC helps to organize the Fifth Ward’s annual festival, which features local entertainers, vendors, food trucks, a kids zone and other entertainment.;

About Bridgette Steele

How long have you worked at the Bank? Almost 40 years.

You are the Houston Branch’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year. What does this honor mean to you? That caught me by surprise, and it’s truly an honor. Sometimes you do things and don’t think it is that important because you do it for so long. But I’m happy to volunteer with the Fifth Ward CRC and be a part of something that gives families a chance to live better and break the cycle of renting.

Aside from volunteering with the Fifth Ward CRC, what else do you do in your spare time? My Saturdays are busy as a limo driver for the funeral home I grew up across the street from. I usher and am part of a women’s group at my church and am involved in my high school alumni association. Exercising also is my passion.

What is something people don’t know about you? I’m raising my 3-year-old old niece until she is 18. So I have started over again. I have two sons and four grandchildren.

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