While many see a boarded up, blighted house on Jackson’s northwest side, Sara Napoletano sees potential. “This house means everything for my family. Better living, more space, and new opportunities,” Napoletano said. The future first-time homeowner and her five children attended a groundbreaking event in May to celebrate the start of construction on their new home.
This fresh start for a Jackson family is made possible by Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity. The local organization bought the home on Hibbard Avenue from the City of Jackson for a rehabilitation project. Habitat is looking forward to transforming the property from an eyesore back into a family home. “Building inside the City Limits is where we see the biggest need, and where we see the biggest opportunity,” said Wendy Clow, Executive Director of Greater Jackson Habitat for Humanity. With rising construction costs in mind, Clow says rehabs of existing houses means they can make projects more affordable. “It’s a way for families with modest household incomes to afford modest-priced houses,” Clow said.
Another strategy to keep construction costs down is buying vacant lots owned by the City. In April, Habitat also broke ground on DeLand Pointe, a residential development that will bring six single family homes to a neighborhood south of Downtown Jackson. Located on one City block bound by Franklin, Mechanic and Mason streets, future residents of these homes will be close to all that Jackson has to offer. Clow says connectivity is another benefit to doing projects in the City. “When we put families in houses, it’s important that they are in neighborhoods where they have access to the things they need,” Clow said.
The DeLand Pointe project is the result of a collaboration between Habitat, the Community Action Agency, and City of Jackson. City Manager Jonathan Greene says he’s inspired to see a community collaboration to make lives better for local families. “Rebuilding Jackson is going to take the teamwork of our residents, community partners, and City government. It’s exciting to see these efforts underway and to consider what we can do in the future,” Greene said.
Construction on the DeLand Pointe project will take place in the coming years, with full completion expected in 2023. Meanwhile, Napoletano is looking forward to moving into her new home by the end of the year. “It’s in a quiet neighborhood with other families, plus I am close to a lot of the places I need to go. I thank Habitat for this opportunity,” Napoletano said.