Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Florida builds 1000th House, Celebrates the City’s Commitment to Help End Substandard Housing
AMERICUS, Ga., Dec. 3, 2002–One thousand families who have bought and built Habitat for Humanity houses in Jacksonville, Fla., over the years gathered in the city’s Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center Dec. 3 to celebrate a milestone in their community. The families recognized local efforts to help end substandard housing with the completion of the city’s 1000th Habitat for Humanity house.
“Jacksonville Habitat for Humanity is a model of how communities and governments can work together to deal with the difficult problem of providing affordable housing on a large scale,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, who will speak at the celebration. “Habitat for Humanity International and all of its affiliates around the world celebrate with Habijax and recognize this remarkable achievement of completing a thousand houses.”
Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville is the first Habitat affiliate in the United States to complete 1,000 houses, and it will continue to begin construction on four new houses per week. During the ceremony, Myra Harris, the first person to buy a Habitat home in the city, will burn her no-interest, zero-profit mortgage. Keys to the 1000th Habitat house will also be presented to Fred and Sabina Gooden and their family at the ceremony.
Rhonda Lowe, one of the 1,000 Habitat families, has been in her Habitat house for three years. Before moving into the house, Rhonda, her husband, Curtis, and their two children Charmaine (10) and Curtis (12) rented small, cramped apartments and were forced to move more than 10 times in 10 years in an attempt to find safe housing that was also affordable.
“We don’t have to take turns sleeping in the bed anymore; my children have their own beds now,” Rhonda said. “Habitat brings hope to a lot of people who have lost it during life’s trials. Through the grace of God, we’ve gotten to where we are today.”
“In Jacksonville, we have a great partnership with our local Habitat affiliate,” said Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney. “We take old, dilapidated buildings that have been condemned, tear down the structure, and give the property to Habijax. What was once a neighborhood eyesore becomes a beautiful home with a family that pays taxes and contributes to the community. Frankly, I don’t know why every city in America isn’t doing what we’re doing, because it is a win-win situation for everyone.”
At a community breakfast on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 a.m. (EST), Mayor Delaney will announce the City of Jacksonville’s commitment to work with Habitat for Humanity International in developing a plan that will help end substandard housing within the city. The city plans to work with Habitat for Humanity and other groups to build and rehabilitate tens of thousands of houses by 2023.
This commitment by the city is part of Habitat for Humanity International’s “21st Century Challenge,” in which all communities are encouraged to develop plans that end substandard housing. Communities research local housing needs and available resources, setting a date by which substandard housing will be eliminated. The plan sets goals to eliminate or significantly reduce substandard housing in communities over a 20-year period.
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 87 nations have built and sold more than 125,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.