Habitat for Humanity - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Habitat for Humanity

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY/METRO JACKSON

Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson is a Christian ministry that believes everyone; everywhere deserves a decent place to live.

In 1993, Habitat made the commitment to concentrate Habitat home building in the Midtown neighborhood. Whole streets were reclaimed in the Manship Model Block Project in 1996 and the Blair Street and Beyond Campaign of 2000.

Now 11 years later Habitat has built over 180 homes in the Midtown neighborhood. Rows of vacant shotgun shacks have been replaced by new houses with neatly trimmed lawns. Where drug dealers once filled the streets, children walk home safely from school. The success of this effort by Habitat in Midtown creates a new vision for the future of inner city neighborhoods everywhere.

In November of 2004 Habitat celebrated with the Mayor of Jackson and other City officials, Habitat homeowners, and other community members the completion of Adelle Street . A large block party, complete with the Rowan marching band and the Brown elementary school choir celebration the transformation of an alley with abandoned shacks to a new neighborhood with an actual street.

Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson is now applying this successful Midtown model to three other inner city neighborhoods –Mid City/Georgetown, Battlefield Park and Poindexter Park. Including Midtown, these four inner city neighborhoods are a part of a new dimension of Habitat’s fight against poverty housing in Jackson—Project Nehemiah. The commitment to inner city neighborhoods strengthens our downtown area by stabilizing these blighted areas with homeowners.

Habitat homeowners pay almost $100,000 in property taxes to the City of Jackson thus effectively recycling property from the delinquent tax rolls to revenue generating homeowners .

In the entire metro area Habitat Jackson has built 286 homes, which is an investment of close to $12 million. By the end of 2004, the 300 th house will be built. But the investment is even greater in human terms. The 286 homes affect the lives of close to 1000 people as first time homeowners. Adequate housing directly impacts and affects the health and well being of children and families. In addition hundreds more are affected as current residents in the neighborhoods enjoy the benefits of the revitalization of their streets and communities.

Habitat provides financial literacy classes and other educational information to help insure successful homeownership. In addition, Habitat employs a Family Support counselor that works with the family to provide ongoing support and guidance before and after the family moves into their home.

Habitat has been the largest homebuilder in the City for the past six years. Habitat Jackson is also one of the largest Habitat affiliates in the country. Nation wide there are over 1600 Habitat affiliates and Habitat Jackson ranks 18 th placing them in the top 1% of all Habitat affiliates.

Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson’s success is due to the strong support of the community. Through hundreds of covenant sponsors and co-sponsors from the business, religious, political communities as well as special groups, associations and individuals funds are provided for the construction of the Habitat homes.

The homeowner purchases the home at no interest and no profit and the house payments are put back into the Habitat program thus enabling more homes to be built. In addition to funds for homes the professional community support Habitat through their professional services offered at no charge or greatly reduced cost thus enabling Habitat to keep the cost of the home as low as possible. In addition, the banking community has provided and committed more than 4.5 million dollars in no interest loans as lines of credit.

Habitat selects the homeowner, buys the land, designs the house, obtains building permits supplies all necessary tools and materials, provides skilled construction supervision, and is responsible for the construction of the house.

Habitat leads volunteers through an eight-week construction process, which includes a work schedule, training, and insurance. It is not uncommon for hundreds of volunteers to be participating in a Habitat build on any given Saturday during the year.

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