What is The Ballard House and Why Is It So Important to Us?
The Ballard House is a 40 room residential facility in Katy, Texas that provides free, temporary housing to patients and their families visiting the Katy area for treatment of life-threatening illnesses. The large majority of our guests are cancer or transplant patients, but we’ve housed patients with a myriad of diagnoses from around the world. We do not have a financial barometer for qualification, only that there is a medical need, verified by the patient’s physician or social worker.
Brian Varvel, team leader of the Avenue Property Group, was among nine agents from the Keller Williams Premier Realty office to serve on the inaugural Board of Directors for Cinco Charities, Inc. – the parent company that eventually birthed The Ballard House. Brian’s connection to and passion for The Ballard House grew from his own experiences during the birth of his youngest daughter, Lexi, whose complications at birth led to extended stays at the Ronald McDonald House.
When you choose us, you support The Ballard House
Because we are so passionate about the Katy community, and specifically The Ballard House, whenever you choose to do business with Avenue Property Group, we make a donation in your name thereby providing support and shelter for a family in dire medical need. It’s a win for you, for us, and for someone who needs support.
The History Behind The Ballard House
In 2006, during Keller Williams Realty’s annual national convention, Mo Anderson, then CEO of the company, stood before a room of more than 15,000 real estate agents and challenged them all to return home and leave a legacy in the communities in which they served.
The associates of Keller Williams Premier Realty in Katy took that challenge to heart. Construction of the West Houston Medical center has just started with Methodist, Texas Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hermann, Christus St. Catherine, and St. Luke’s all planning expansions in the community. The growing medical community meant thousands of patients would be coming to Katy for their treatments and would need housing. Thus was born the rough idea for Cinco Charities and of providing temporary housing for all of those new patients.
In the early years, Cinco Charities lived their mission by providing housing in nearby hotels and extended stay facilities through generous donations and small fundraising events within the community.
Everything changed in 2011. That year, Erin Ballard, a cancer patient herself, learned about Cinco Charities through her oncologist, Dr. Sunil Patel at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Katy and was inspired to donate the use of one of her rental properties to Cinco Charities to expand their outreach.
That home became known as Erin’s House. Erin and her friends took it upon themselves to restore, refinish, and redecorate the entire home, even installing new Tempurpedic beds, making the house a home-away-from-home and favorite destination for many of the guests.
Erin’s husband Monty was also touched by the mission and founded The Ballard Foundation to advance the charity’s goal of building their own hospitality house in Katy.
“We live in Katy, not far down the street from MD Anderson,” Monty Ballard said, “We started thinking about the people that live in other states who want the best treatment available but just couldn’t afford the other pieces of the puzzle. They might have great insurance, but still couldn’t afford to travel here to stay and get treatment. We thought we could make it possible for Cinco Charities to move forward.”
In December of 2013, a huge crowd of supporters celebrated the grand opening of The Ballard House, a then 20,000 sf facility located on 3 acres in the heart of Katy. A few days later, our first five families were moved in. And they’ve kept coming, from all over Texas, across the country, and around the world.
In January of 2019, after restoring the house from the ravages of Hurricane Harvey, The Ballard House, with funding from The Ballard Foundation, opened the doors to its new expansion, extending the home from 24 guest suites to 40.