Two in city get homes through Habitat

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 9, 2003

Richard Anderson looks out over his lawn while standing on his new porch at 206 Winters Lane with his sister, Gustina Phillips, as guests begin to gather for the Warren County Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony Sunday. (Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[6/9/03]Habitat for Humanity and the City of Vicksburg have provided a new beginning for two people in need of new homes.

Dedications were Sunday at 206 and 209 Winters Lane in Tommy Jones Estates in Kings.

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Katie Mae Robinson and Richard Anderson will move into the two-bedroom homes constructed by volunteers and the recipients’ friends and family members.

Anderson, 53, who has been deaf since birth, received a home that has a special doorbell and appropriate fire-alarm system.

Before Sunday, he had lived alone for years in a house that resembles a shed. It had no running water or central air and heat. Anderson often visited the construction site on his bike to help and to watch his new home rise up from nothing.

“It touches my heart because Richard would come to the site every day and point to it as if saying This is mine,”‘ said North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young.

Willie Jordan, a friend of Anderson’s, began to take him to meetings of the North Ward Active Citizens, a non-profit organization. At these meetings, Anderson made many friends who feel that he deserved a new home.

“He is a very independent person who always has a smile on his face,” said Willie Ethel Johnson, president of North Ward Active Citizens. “We wanted him to still reside in the Kings community because everyone knows him here.”

“He has come from rags to riches,” said Shirley King, friend and assistant to Anderson. “God has truly blessed him.”

Friends also played a big role in building the new home for Katie Mae Robinson, 74. Beginning in May, several, including her family members, labored at the site and elsewhere.

“We painted the exterior and interior of the house,” said Clarence Williams, Robinson’s son. “We worked for about six to eight hours a day on the house.”

“I thank everyone for helping me,” Robinson said at the dedication. “This is the only way I would have gotten a house. I really appreciate it.”

Kings, which borders North Washington Street, has struggled with poverty and substandard housing. Jim Chandler, president of Warren County Habitat For Humanity, said the organization was invited in as a stabilizing presence. “Alma Taylor asked for us to work with the people in Kings community,” Chandler said. “We not only build houses but homes as well.”

The City of Vicksburg sponsored a Home Investment Partnership Program at Tommy Jones Estates, at North Washington and Roberts streets. This program assists low-income homebuyers with down payment and closing costs.

Habitat For Humanity is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Georgia. Families can receive a house if they are willing to help build it and if they otherwise qualify. There are 14 Habitat houses in the Vicksburg area with people paying, interest-free, the construction costs not provided by volunteer labor or donated materials.