Home » OPINION » Columns » ALAN TURNER: Raising the walls: Habitat’s latest build (and homeowner)

ALAN TURNER: Raising the walls: Habitat’s latest build (and homeowner)

Carolyn Madlock

Carolyn Madlock

C arolyn Madlock, 37, and her son Jimmy, 11, are excited about the prospects of moving into their own home soon, thanks to the folks at Habitat for Humanity / Mississippi Capital Area.

We talked with Carolyn recently about her new home, and how the process works. She has worked for St. Dominic’s since she was 17 years old, working her way up from the patient tray line to cafeteria food service, and now serves as a cafeteria food service supervisor.

Carolyn has never had a home of her own, and has lived with her mother and father for her entire life, as has her son. Carolyn said that “things are pretty crowded” in her parents’ home, and she is “truly excited” about the prospect of being able to move into her own space.

She has always loved working at St. Dominic, and when she had the opportunity to apply for consideration for a Habitat build, she jumped at the chance.

“I appreciate St. D for what they are doing for me, helping me get a Habitat home,” she said.

Her new home will be located in Jackson’s Virden Addition, an area she lived in as a child, so “I’m familiar with the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s near St. D, and I’d like my son to go to Walton Elementary.”

Asked what she likes most about the opportunity, she said that she is happy that she won’t be “throwing away money on rent, and it will be just great having the key to my own home”.

There are people who think that Habitat somehow provides “free houses” to its clients. That is absolutely not so. A prospective homeowner must pass the necessary screening process, which is in some ways similar to applying for a bank mortgage. The homeowner will carry a 30 year mortgage, just like any other home buyer. In Habitat’s case, the mortgage is provided on an interest-free basis.

In addition to passing the screening process, the prospective homeowner also has to contribute “sweat equity,” which includes work on her home, earning community service hours, and work on other Habitat builds, such as laying sod, clean-up of the work site, and helping to prep a home for rehab.

She also had to complete the Financial Peace classes that Habitat provides all prospective homeowners.

“I feel like I learned a lot through all of this,” Carolyn said.  “I feel like I’m on solid financial ground, and I hope to be able to save money for our future, too.”

Carolyn’s home is a part of the Catholic Build, which is Habitat’s oldest faith-based Covenant sponsor.  Participating in this year’s build are many Catholic churches in the area, along with St. Dominic’s Foundation.

Now that the initial qualification process with Carolyn has been completed, it’s time for the exciting part — namely, building her house. The volunteers are lined up and ready.  The first build day is Saturday, Oct. 18, when the walls and trusses go up. The process begins with a prayer and blessing of the build by a priest.  From start to finish, the building process will generally take about 3 months.

Since its founding in 1986, HFHMCA has partnered with more than 590 families to build homes in the Mississippi capital area, according to Cindy Griffin, Executive Director of the organization. Cindy said that so far in 2014, Habitat has served 295 families: 12 first time home buyers and 283 in need of critical repairs on homes they own through the Neighborhood Revitalization Program. They also have ongoing rehabs of 12 houses and 2 new builds, of which Carolyn’s home is one.

Clearly, Habitat has made a lasting contribution to the lives of many families in Jackson through the years, and has done so through the hard work of its partners and the many volunteers who provide the labor to get the job done.

For those who might be interested in seeing how the process works, Carolyn’s home will be located at 2940 Smith Robinson in Jackson. We plan to check in on the build and follow up with future articles on how it all goes.

For further information on Habitat, visit their website at habitatjackson.org.

 

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at alan.turner@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1021.

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