Last updated on January 28, 2022
Army veteran Nicole Harris always wanted to be a police officer. When she was accepted to the Cedar Valley Law Enforcement Academy, it looked as if she was finally on her way to making that goal a reality. But there were still obstacles to overcome.
Her income wasn’t enough for her to afford decent housing and go to school full time. She knew she could either work and not go to the police academy or go to school and live in a shelter.
“I decided that being a police officer was the most important thing to me,” Harris said.
She started the program and attended classes all day, then spent her evenings on the campus so she could use the Wi-Fi to complete her lessons.
Wendy Sheriff, Dallas College adjunct instructor and retired homeless liaison officer with the Garland Police department, said Harris’s commitment to the program was unwavering and a few challenges were not going to slow her progress in reaching her goal.
Through Sheriff’s experience working with the homeless community in Garland and her contacts with the community development team, she learned about a house in need of a tenant.
“It was divine intervention,” Sheriff said.
The house had been renovated and was ready to be sold to an eligible family when the winter storm hit last February. A burst pipe caused extensive damage and no funding was available to start the project again.
Then, as if all the stars aligned, the Garland Housing Finance Corporation supplied funds to complete the renovation and rather than selling the property, the project was redefined for veteran housing. In the search for a qualified candidate, Sheriff suggested Harris.
“Nicole met all the requirements. She’s perfect because she doesn’t stop. For all the adversities, nothing holds her back,” Sheriff said.
Mona Woodward, director of Garland’s Community Development Program agreed that they couldn’t have found a better person for the property.
On Veterans Day, Harris arrived at her new home in a Garland police car with full lights and sirens. City representatives and the community were there to welcome her and give her the keys to her new home.
“God is good. The process – how I got this house doesn’t happen every day. I know this was divine timing,” she said.
Nicole Harris graduated from Dallas College on Jan. 20, 2022.