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Abner Estates

Photo of a new home in the Abner Estates subdivision

A street scene in the Abner Estates subdivision
Another street scene in the Abner Estates subdivision

Abner Estates is one of many Success Stories that have been locally nominated for recognition in celebration of CDBG's 30th Anniversary.

Success Story Details

Grantee: City of Jackson, Tennessee
Field Office: Knoxville (Region 4)
Carried Out By: Habitat for Humanity, Jackson Chapter (a CBDO)
Eligibility: 570.201 (m)
Natl. Objective: Low- and moderate-income housing
CDBG $132,018
Private $702,532
Total $834,550
Date Started: July 1999
Date Completed: May 2003
IDIS Activity No: N/A
Grantee Contact: N/A
Grantee Website: N/A

Success Story Description

CDBG funds were used to develop the Abner Estates subdivision. Habitat for Humanity, a CBDO, built thirteen homes for low- and very low-income families. Project highlights and innovations include two homes built under universal design standards and one home that has seven bedrooms. This large home was made to appear in scale with the other homes by its placement on the lot. In addition, Youthbuild students assisted in building the two universal-design homes.

Universal design included several modifications from standard design:

  • 36" interior doors (in place of standard 30" doors)
  • Lower cabinetry
  • Lever-style door handles and kitchen cabinetry hardware
  • Wider hallways
  • Wider spaces in bathrooms
  • Floor-grade showers with slight-slope drainage (eliminating the need to step over a barrier)
  • Lower light switches
  • Higher electrical outlets
  • Step-free entry into the home
  • Covered front porches
  • Special amenities for accessibility needed by the homeowner

The total upfront cost for these improvements was approximately $6,000 to $10,000—less than it would be to later modify standard-design homes as the homeowners grow older or become disabled. The objective was to have universal design become standard design, thereby reducing the costs through volume and economies of scale.

Partnerships made this program work. Partners included Habitat for Humanity, Jackson State Community College Youthbuild Program, seven churches, one private law firm, one local university (Lambuth University), the State, and other non-profit organization sponsors (e.g., Lions Club International, Jackson Energy Authority). Approximately 5,000 local and out-of-state volunteers constructed the homes. The City of Jackson Codes Department was very flexible in approving the universal design standards.

Leveraged funds totaled $702,532—5.32 dollars for every one dollar of CDBG funds expended on this project. State and local funding for the construction of the homes totaled $373,530; covenant sponsors totaled $192,150. Homeowner "sweat equity" added another $33,475, and in-kind and other funding totaled $103,337. The project was completed successfully despite four tornadoes that struck Jackson on May 4, 2003. In the words of a West Tennessee Legislator, "It is hard to send your child to her room to do her homework when she does not have a room to go to." Today, thirteen families in the Abner Estates subdivision no longer face that problem, thanks to many partnerships dedicated to a spirit of giving.

Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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