This is a story of an individual, Tyrone Evans, who for 30 years was an alcoholic and drug addict. After being incarcerated several times, he decided to spend the balance of his life helping others who were fighting to overcome drug and alcoholic addiction. He lived near a street called Bonita Street that had become a gathering place for drug dealers and drug addicts. The conditions on Bonita Street were so bad that even the police tried to avoid it because it was too dangerous. Tyrone was very upset that the street had become a hub for drug dealers. He drove down the street one afternoon and was confronted by a group of gang members at gunpoint who asked what he was doing there. They advised him that if he wasn’t buying drugs he needed to leave. There were 18 small homes on the street that were occupied by drug users
The landlord who owned the houses wasn’t able to collect the rent that was owed to him. Tyrone felt this was an ideal place for him to begin his new career helping others to become free of drug addiction. Tyrone had a dream of helping others but wasn’t able financially able to follow up on his dream. He felt that the 18 houses would be an ideal site for him to start a drug/alcohol rehab program. At some point he found a business card with the name of Ralph Marek with the Marek Brothers Company. He had heard that the Marek Brothers Company had a reputation for helping charitable causes. He called Ralph who set up a meeting with his brothers, John and Bill. Tyrone gave the Marek’s the story of what was happening on Bonita Street and what he eventually wanted to accomplish. After their discussion the Marek’s advised Tyrone they had to discuss the matter further and pray on their decision. Ralph later called Tyrone and said they would help him finance the purchase and the remodeling of the 18 houses.
After purchasing the property Tyrone, with the help of the neighborhood preachers, was able to clear out all of the drug dealers and users and then he remodeled the 18 houses to where they could be used to house men and women who were anxious to begin a new chapter in lives free of drugs and/or alcohol. Tyrone called his new facility the “Bonita House of Hope” and officially opened it in June of 1996 as a halfway house for men and women who had been released from prison and others who were alcoholics or drug addicts. After several months it became obvious to Tyrone that many of the people who had graduated from his program were relapsing because they were unable to get meaningful work. Knowing that the Marek’s were in the construction business, Tyrone encouraged the Marek’s to start a company that would provide temporary workers for the construction industry. He felt that many of his graduates might be able to get meaningful employment. At that time the Marek’s started Marek Employment Management Company, MEMCO, a staffing payroll firm to meet the needs of people looking for work in the construction industry. At the persistence of one man, Tyrone Evans, who wanted desperately to help people to overcome their addictions and with the help of the Marek Brothers a lot of people benefited from his dream. Many got a new lease on life.
Bonita House of Hope eventually established itself as a nonprofit corporation, obtained the state license requirements set by the Texas Commission of alcohol and drug abuse TCADA. Bonita House received its license in 2000. Tyrone continually introduced other types of treatment programs and hired licensed chemical dependency counselors. As time went on more and more clients needed multiple types of treatment including psychic evaluations and medications, help from social workers and work training programs. All of this would be helpful in them getting jobs after their treatment program was completed. Because of the need of more space and better facilities Tyrone once again went to see the Marek’s to see what kind of help they could offer. They encouraged Tyrone to find a larger tract of land that would accommodate a larger, more modern facility. In 2003 Tyrone found a suitable tract of land on Parker Road in North Houston which he felt was suitable for his project.
He established a Board of Directors and hired a professional architect at Rice Institute to draw plans for the new facility. Tyrone and the Board and the Marek’s then started to solicit funds to raise 4.7 million for the construction of the new facility. On June 2004 groundbreaking ceremony took place with the Mayor of Houston and several members of the City Council to commemorate the start of the construction. The 64 unit facility was completed in May of 2005 and could accommodate as many as 140 adults and 60 women and children. The Bonita House of Hope took a holistic view of treatment through a comprehensive program of spiritual, professional and practical help. The Bonita House of Hope is one of the few facilities in Houston that offers a comprehensive care to those in desperate need of help and as such we came to see the dream of one man, Tyrone Evans and his persistence to see his vision come true. The Bonita House of Hope slogan is, The Bonita House of Hope - Inspiring People to Dream.
The Bonita House eventually merged with the Santa Maria Hostel an organization that had been providing similar services for the last 50 years in the Harris County area. Santa Maria had a very experienced staff of professionals but their facilities were old and had been damaged by the Hurricane and after several meetings it was determined that a merger would provide an excellent facility for Santa Maria and Santa Maria team would help Bonita House reach its full potential. A member of the management team of the Marek Family of Companies continues to be a member of the Board of Directors of Santa Maria. The Marek’s continue to take a keen interest in the operation of the combined facility. The Bonita House/Santa Maria project on Parker Road is truly the work of God. Below is a link to a story about the Bonita House of Hope project, as well as the Santa Maria Hostel organization.