Housing Choice Voucher Participant Becomes First Official Homeowner with Habitat
for Humanities National
HUD's Jackson, Mississippi Hub Office of Public Housing awarded Mississippi Regional
Housing Authority No. VIII
an outstanding service award for being the first public housing agency in the
Nation to officially partner with and have the first Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)
Program participant become a Habitat for Humanity (HFH) homeowner during the HFH
Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This office
started a partnership with Habitat for Humanities National last year and committed
to a 2-year pilot. We have provided technical assistance to our Mississippi PHAs
and held meetings with them and HFH to work through how this program could be
combined to serve more Mississippi families. On May 14, 2008, Alethea Grant was
our first success, but there are 10 more HCV families underway as part of the
Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Habitat Build along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They
are building 108 Habitat homes in Mississippi Gulf Coast counties as part of this
Build. This may also help our coastal area recover from Hurricane Katrina.
Grant, the 26-year-old mother of two, made history as becoming the first official
housing choice voucher participant to own a Habitat for Humanity home in the Nation.
Ms. Grant has accomplished one of the two goals she set for herself when she was
a little girl - owning her first home and becoming a registered nurse.
back tears in front of HUD officials and Habitat volunteers helping her build
her home on Dupont Avenue, Grant thanked God and those around her for making her
dream a reality. A nursing assistant at Singing River Hospital, Grant added she
plans to fulfill the registered nurse goal after she starts school in the fall.
Instead of paying a landlord rent for her home, Grant -- a lifelong apartment
occupant -- said she will be able to buy her home under the program.
three-bedroom home is near the center of Habitat's 25th annual Jimmy and Rosalynn
Carter Work Project. In Pascagoula, 20 homes are being restored or built over
several south central blocks.
"If it wasn't for what you've done, this
wouldn't have been possible," Holly Bellino, Director of the Jackson Office of
Public Housing, told Habitat volunteers, who gathered from across the world to
participate in the Carter project. Grant said she has been part of construction
from the slab to placing vinyl siding, crowning and other exterior work. "It's
just amazing to watch the house go up, and so quickly," she said of the process.
"I never would have known where to start. I thank God and the volunteers and feel
so blessed to be part of this."