The Mississippi Link Newswire,Representatives from churches, businesses, schools and government gathered with Habitat for Humanity supporters and staff June 27 to dedicate the first two houses rehabbed as part of the non-profit’s new Broadmoor Initiative. The goal is to rehab and build 100 houses in 5 years.
Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area announced recently that it is launching a five-year initiative to revitalize the historic Broadmoor neighborhood in north Jackson.
The announcement was made during the noon dedication, Thursday, June 27, of the first two houses to be rehabbed as a part of this initiative; they are located at 757 and 758 Avalon Road. The goal is to rehab 100 houses over five years, according to Merrill McKewen, Habitat’s executive director.
Created in the early 1950’s as a neighborhood for GIs returning from World War II, the Broadmoor neighborhood was a place teaming with families and their children. Streets were named after major campaigns and individuals associated with WWII in Western Europe and the Pacific – for example, Manila, Normandy, Churchill and Casablanca.
The neighborhood then became a place for first-time homebuyers, and baby boomers continued to live in the area throughout the early 1990s. Then a great deal of it became rental property lacking care. The area also suffered from the 2008 housing market crash with high rates of foreclosure.
“Our goal is to revitalize this neighborhood for the newest generation of first-time homebuyers,” McKewen said. “By using the structural integrity of the houses, our goal will be to offer completely remodeled homes for those in need of decent, affordable houses.”
“There are many pluses that make the neighborhood attractive today for revitalization,” she said. “The character of the neighborhood is the “post-war box” – moderately sized, well-constructed, structurally sound homes – along with mature trees and large, beautiful lots that are ideal for first-time homebuyers. The neighborhood is also near many amenities such as major thoroughfares, shopping centers, schools, churches and potential jobs. As a bonus, if a house is beyond repair, we will be able to demo the house through a Blight Elimination Program though the City of Jackson, thereby, improving the neighborhood for everyone.”
Sharing the dream for the revitalization of Broadmoor is a 20-member committee of stakeholders representing businesses, government, schools and faith-based institutions that support Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area’s (HFHMCA) work in the Broadmoor area.
“At the Redeemer Church, we believe in the theology of place,” said Pastor Elbert McGowan Jr. “We want ‘shalom’ for the physical and tangible being of this neighborhood as well as the spiritual. Habitat’s commitment to rehab 100 houses in five years is a huge part in bringing ‘shalom’ for Broadmoor.”
Cherry Buckner, who has lived in Broadmoor for 43 years and raised two daughters there, is excited about the revitalization underway.
“When I moved here, it was the perfect place for young couples and families just starting out,” she said. “I have lived here a long time, I love my house, and I love the convenient location of the neighborhood. I am pleased with Habitat’s commitment to Broadmoor and our getting new homeowners who realize that a home is an investment. I love that Habitat offers individuals who buy their homes classes about finance and budgeting and home maintenance. It’s a win-win for everyone – the new homeowners, the current homeowners and the neighborhood in general.”
The two houses dedicated today were sponsored by Selby and Richard McRae Foundation and the Regions Foundation. Habitat for Humanity has acquired additional properties in Broadmoor and already received commitments for more rehabs in 2019:
• Women Build, a rehab currently in progress that is sponsored by women donors and volunteers throughout the tri-county area
• Catholic Build, a rehab sponsored by a partnership of Catholic churches in the tri-county area
• Five rehabs funded through a federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program grant from the City of Jackson
• Bankers Build, a rehab sponsored by a partnership of Jackson area banks.
During the dedication, it was announced that Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi will sponsor the first new build of the Broadmoor Initiative. Construction will take place this fall.
“We are pleased that all of our corporate, community and religious sponsors of Habitat homes are coming with us to Broadmoor to have the largest impact possible, and, of course, we welcome new sponsors – individuals, businesses, churches and others – who want to be a part of the exciting revitalization of this historic neighborhood,” McKewen said.
To learn more about how to support Habitat for Humanity’s work in Broadmoor by becoming a donor, volunteer or homeowner, call 601 353-6060 or visit www.habitatmca.org.