January 14, 2008 January Habitat Homes Dedicated By Adam Chapman Sun Herald
About 40 family members and volunteers gathered in front of a home on Patriot Cove in Ocean Springs on Saturday to dedicate it and other houses built by the Gulf Coast Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Gary Blackwell, a member of the Gulf Coast chapter's board of directors, led the dedication.
The nine homes are just some of the buildings Habitat for Humanity has built in South Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina. In January 2007, the Harrison and Jackson County branches merged together to form one chapter.
The organization has begun construction on more than 178 homes since then.
After the invocation, family, friends and volunteers gathered to form a "unity circle" in which they responded to a litany of dedications: intending the homes to contribute to the spiritual, physical and emotional well-being of the residents-to-be.
Nine families were then given the opportunity to thank the Habitat volunteers and staff.
"I would just like to thank God and all the people who helped," said LaSonya Baker, who had been living with family members after the storm due to increasing post-Katrina housing costs.
"Rent prices were just ridiculous," Baker said.
"FEMA was the first place I went after the disaster, but they were not able to help me. Habitat for Humanity did, though," Baker said. These homes help give people stability."
Gary Blackwell, a theology professor at William Carey College, said the organization gives people the chance to offer what he called a "Christian witness."
He said the homes also give people a chance to get out of bad socio-economic conditions.
"Home ownership is the first step in having economic stability and our goal is to eliminate substandard housing along the Gulf Coast," Blackwell said.
"By improving people's living conditions, we're also able to help get rid of social ills."
Thank-You! I thought the whole operation ran very well, and we got some nice work done. You should all be proud of what you are doing, especially Bryce and David and Devon over on Whitewood and Lima Roads.
I hope to come back next year for more than one week.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of US policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
Licensed by the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance. NMLSR#: 267248