Habitat for Humanity changes its model to tackle blight by renovating vacant and abandoned homes

Habitat changes model to rehabbing homes

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Habitat for Humanity is changing its model as it tackles blight in an historic Jackson neighborhood.

Instead of building houses from the ground up, over the next five years the organization will be targeting vacant and blighted structures to rehab for families.

“We need a change around here,” said Broadmoor resident James Matlock.

The Churchill Drive resident is happy to learn about Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Central Area's plans to renovate 100 homes in the Broadmoor Subdivision.

A house, just across the street from his on Belvedere Road, has sat vacant for just under a year.

This three bedroom two bath house on Belvedere Road in the Broadmoor Subdivision is also slated for renovations. It is among 85 existing houses identified for renewal. Source: WLBT
This three bedroom two bath house on Belvedere Road in the Broadmoor Subdivision is also slated for renovations. It is among 85 existing houses identified for renewal. Source: WLBT

The non profit organization will rehab the three bedroom two bath home.

“Don’t tear these houses down, just build them back up and then people can live in them,” said Matlock. “It’d be a better neighborhood for people to stay at. Because everybody’s moving out of Jackson because of all these abandoned houses”.

The next street over Habitat is working on a house on Meadow Ridge Drive.

Habitat's Women's Build is rehabbing this house on Meadow Ridge Drive. This weekend they will be inside priming and painting. Source: WLBT
Habitat's Women's Build is rehabbing this house on Meadow Ridge Drive. This weekend they will be inside priming and painting. Source: WLBT

Residents say the four bedroom three bath home has been vacant for about seven years.

Habitat’s Women’s Build is transforming it for a mother and three children.

The inside has been gutted. Saturday that’s where volunteers will be priming and painting the walls.

Habitat chose the nearly 70 year old subdivision to begin their new strategy of revitalizing existing homes for a new generation of families.

"It's the chance to live in north Jackson and that's really cool," said Habitat for Humanity MS Capital Area Executive Director Merrill McKewen. "And be able to go to all the great schools and have all the amenities, that perhaps they might not have had before in their lives".

Homes in the Broadmoor area that can't be repaired will be demolished through the City of Jackson's Blight Elimination Program.

Broadmoor resident Jessica Akin attended Thursday's dedication of two Habitat homes on Avalon Road.

“That means new neighbors and homeowners that aren’t as transient,” said Akin. “They’ll have a permanent home, and they’ll be able to be a part of our neighbor and our community”.

At least 85 houses in the area have been targeted for renewal.

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