Secretary Jackson Visits St. Louis Habitat for Humanity Hope Square
The Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood in north St. Louis held a huge housewarming party Saturday, October 2, 2004, as Habitat for Humanity put the finishing touches on 20 new single-family homes. This is their largest one-time project in St. Louis City. Joining the 200 volunteers was HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. Secretary Jackson toured the homes, cut a ceremonial blue ribbon across the front steps of a duplex home, delivered house warming wishes to each new resident, and spent time greeting new homeowners and volunteers. Volunteers from faith-based congregations, private businesses, and colleges were on hand to welcome Secretary Jackson to St. Louis and Habitat for Humanity's Hope Square.
HUD played an instrumental role in making the 20 new single-family homes a reality by working with the City of St. Louis and the St. Louis Equity Fund, a non-profit organization, to transfer a deteriorating multifamily apartment complex to the city. Once the structures were demolished and the land cleared, the St. Louis Equity Fund donated the land to Habitat for Humanity for construction of 20 new homes in one contiguous block. In addition to the land donation, Habitat for Humanity acquired a grant from the St. Louis City Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the St. Louis City Community Development Block Grant Program, a HUD-funded allocation to St. Louis City, to assist with overall development costs.
Construction of the 20 homes began July 2004 with an eight-day Habitat Blitz Build, where contractors and volunteers worked constantly to complete the houses' interiors and exteriors. Homeowners had to complete 450 hours on their individual homes to qualify for a down payment credit; receive a first mortgage of $62,000; and a second mortgage of $15,000 from the St. Louis City Affordable Housing Trust.
The homes are very unique. The homes' architectural style mimics existing homes in the neighborhood where the majority of homes were built prior to 1950. Each Hope Square home is a two-story with flat roof, brick front, 3-bedrooms, full basement, and handicap accessible ramps connected to the back entrance. Hope Square also has community areas and green spaces for the 48 children and their parents who will call Hope Square home.By October 2, 2004, eleven homeowners had moved into their homes. Delissa Wells, 40, formerly a renter in Wellston, Missouri, said she wanted to move from renter to homeowner because she had trouble with her landlord regarding plumbing and other issues. Ms. Wells also said, "I'm just so happy I can own a house." Ms. Kimberly McKinney, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity St. Louis, said all the families should be in their new homes by O ctober 5, 2004.
|Content Archived: September 7, 2011|