By Stephanie R. Jones
Three Jackson residents had lots of cheer during the holiday season. They moved into new homes – homes of their own – just before and after the Christmas holiday. They have Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area to thank. Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area dedicated three homes in Midtown Monday as part of its celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. LeQuoya Williams closed on her four-bedroom, two bath home on Manship Street Dec. 28 and moved in Jan. 1.
“It’s the greatest thing to happen to me in a while,” said Williams, who started the process of working on her home in April 2016. Williams is the mother of two children, Syrius, 3, and Riyah, 1. Williams and the other new homeowners have interest-free, 30-year mortgages. Williams said some people thought her home was one provided by HUD, and came with restrictions on what could be done.
“I had to explain to them that this is my home; I own it and there are no rules and restrictions. I just have to pay my mortgage,” Williams said. Williams’ niece also was celebrating Monday. Valondria Williams and her 11-year-old son Kordell Johnson, moved into their new home a few blocks away on McTyere Avenue in December as well. Tierra Christian and her two sons Byron Burns, 7, and Tristian Burns, 3, were excited about the dedication and blessing of their new home on Kevin Barnett Court. “It’s a good feeling to be able to say ‘this is my own,’” Christian said. The houses were made possible by the contributions of 850 hours of service by volunteers from Baptist Health Systems, New Hope Baptist Church, Covenant Presbyterian Church, and five United Methodist Churches – Christ UMC, Anderson UMC, Madison UMC, St. Luke’s UMC, and Saint Mark’s UMC.
Habitat also celebrated the accumulation of nearly 10,000 hours of community service donated by its more than 1,000 volunteers in 2016. Merrill McKewen said Habitat wanted to honor Dr. King and his teachings, espcially that “life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’” “We decided that in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. we would celebrate his birthday through service,” McKewen said.
“We’re thankful to have people who are willing to come back year after year.” The HFHMCA’ Building on the Dream celebration is an official event of the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Each family was presented a Bible as part of the house dedications and blessing were bestowed onto the home. At Christian’s home, Habitat board member Johnny Anthony presented her with a Bible. Board member Isabella Evans encouraged Christian to “make your home a house of prayer.” Evans said she, too, was a single mom like Christian. “I had to realize that God is the head of the household,” she said. “Unless God builds the house, it is a house built in vain,” said Evans, a member of New Hope Baptist Church.
Stephanie R. Jones can be reached at email@example.com or (601) 454-0372.