BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Six families in Birmingham’s Wahouma community now have a new home just in time for the holidays.
The City of Birmingham, Habitat for Humanity and the Birmingham Land Bank teamed up for the housing development project — part of the city’s continued mission to develop undeserved communities and expand affordable housing options.
“There’s nothing more important than what we’re doing today in welcoming families back to our legacy communities and neighborhoods in this city,” said Kelvin Datcher, the city of Birmingham’s senior advisor to the mayor on special projects.
In light of the passing of former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who championed Habitat for Humanity for decades, the ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday morning began with a moment of silence.
Although the ceremony was long in the works, community leaders remarked that the dedication was a timely and fitting tribute to Carter. In 2007, both Rosalynn Carter and former president Jimmy Carter visited Birmingham to help build homes.
“Rosalynn Carter and former president Jimmy Carter were two of the biggest advocates for Habitat for Humanity. Two of our –we say — our most famous and most dedicated volunteers,” said Drew Bonner, the vice president of operations of the Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham.
“Even in his mid and early 90s, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were still literally building houses … I just think it’s fitting that we as a community get to be here today to celebrate with these families,” said Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin.
It was an emotional moment for new homeowner Phylisha Thomas, who said her home was a gift from her father who passed away in March.
“A relief, an accomplishment,” Thomas said.
That’s a feeling shared by Thomas’ new neighbor and fellow home recipient Rauslyn Adams, who said she escaped a violent relationship. Her children, 7-year-old Zamir and 4-year-old Zuri, are most looking forward to decorating for Christmas.
“I feel grateful and thankful to be able to have a home for my babies to be able to have Thanksgiving dinner,” Adams said.
The city is continuing to work on similar housing projects in Ensley, Belview Heights, Pratt City and Druid Hills.