Community gathers to bless Catholic build, Pope Francis Habitat homes

JACKSON – “This scripture comes to mind about the Habitat process – Isaiah 43:18-19: Do not dwell on things of the past. See I am doing a new thing. Can you not perceive it?” Cindy Griffin, executive director for the Capitol Area Habitat for Humanity used this verse to kick off the dedication of two new homes on Greenview Drive on Friday, Feb. 19.
One was dedicated to Pope Francis. The other is the work of the annual Catholic Build. The homeowners, Shavers Houston and Tequila Johnson, are both excited about raising families in a community in the midst of revitalization. Another new Habitat house, built by Episcopal volunteers, sits across from the Catholic one and more are planned for the street in South Jackson near St. Therese Parish.
“This is going to be a street filled with hard working families and a place where children can walk to school in safety and security. We are not going to dwell on the past. We are going to help build a new future for Greenview and for these great families,” added Griffin.
Houston has already contributed 150 hours of ‘sweat equity,’ working on other Habitat houses. He and his four children, Anasia, 13, Ariyana, 10, and twins Shaffar and Shafaria, seven, are moving from a two bedroom apartment into the new home. “My children are more excited than I am. They keep asking when are we going to move and will they have their own rooms.”
Shavers said he is honored to be the homeowner for the Pope Francis House. “This has been a very special experience near and dear to my children’s hearts,” he said. “I want to thank Habitat and the individuals who donated and volunteered to help my family. I can’t thank them enough.” The Pope Francis House was made possible by an anonymous donor who offered half the money needed for construction.
Johnson has two boys, five-year-old Keaton and Moderia, 18.
“You just don’t know how happy I will be to have my own house. This has been a dream of mine for years. I want to keep pushing for that so my kids and I will have a better life,” she said.
Parishes from across the Jackson area joined together to raise the money for and build the homes, starting in September. Bishop Joseph Kopcaz joined representatives from the various parishes for the dedication. Father John Bohn, pastor of St. Richard, spoke about that community’s long-standing dedication to Habitat.
Allen Scott, a member of the Habitat board of directors presented each family with a Bible for their homes to remind them that they were built in Christian love.