May 5, 2008
PASCAGOULA -- Gina Walters was excited to hear that former President Jimmy Carter is going to help bring her some new neighbors.
Walters lives near the 1000 block of Tucker Avenue in Pascagoula, where Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will join with Habitat For Humanity volunteers from around the world to build affordable housing.
The Carters' visit from May 11 to May 16 marks the 25th anniversary of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, which partners with Habitat For Humanity. More than 250 homes will be built throughout the Gulf Coast by the end of this year as part of the program, according to a Habitat For Humanity news release.
After Hurricane Katrina created a void in the affordable housing market along the Gulf Coast, Habitat and the Carters chose the area for the program's silver anniversary, Habitat officials said.
On May 11, opening ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. at Yankie Stadium in Biloxi, where the Carters will welcome the thousands of volunteers they'll work alongside. The Mississippi Mass Choir will also perform, Habitat officials said.
The Carters will roll up their sleeves at 8 a.m. the following morning and go to work during the all-day construction in Pascagoula.
"It's exciting that President Carter will be building houses near mine," Walters said. "He's always helping people, and his wife's sweet, too."
Mobile will be the work site for May 13, and the Carters will then share their construction talents in New Orleans on May 14.
On May 15, Covington, La., and Diamondhead will be the last two construction sites the Carters will work at before returning to Pascagoula on May 16 to inspect the progress there.
A major partner in this year's build is the Habitat For Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In January 2007, Harrison County HFH and HFH of Jackson County merged to form HFH of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to meet the affordable housing needs created by Katrina.
Since the merger, more than 190 homes have been completed or are under construction, the news release said