Jackson Neighborhood Gets National Recognition for Positive TransformationBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 19 Nov 2013 10:32am |
Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area and local law enforcement leaders are receiving national recognition for improving the safety and vitality of a Jackson neighborhood. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports what the transformation means to the community.
Two years ago this inner city Jackson neighborhood was known as an oasis for drug dealing, prostitution and illegal dumping. Today Englewood Gardens is a safe, viable community that is being honored by the MetLife Foundation for its astonishing transformation. MetLife Spokesman, Jason Cooper explains what makes the Jackson Community standout among the more than 540 applicants across the country.
"They really transformed what was once a neighborhood liability, this vacant military barracks and a cesspool for crime into a healthy living community that is now a destination of choice. People want to live here, they want to grow here they want to raise children here and that wasn't always the case.
The community revitalization efforts began in 2011 when Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area began building 29 new homes in the low income community. Habitat's executive director, Cindy Griffin says since the organization formed a collaboration between the Jackson Police Department, Hinds County Sheriff’s Department and habitat residents there has been a 55% crime reduction in the area.
"It's a real community effort by putting the property owners in place of where it was blighted abandoned property. They are paying property taxes, they have a neighborhood association, they watch out for each other, their children go to school together. They just have a vested interest in the community and the community's success because the community's success is their success.
Perhaps no one understands that better than neighborhood association president, Michelle Owens.
"We've had several meeting with the new habitat home owners as well as the people who were already here before these houses came up. And with the watch meetings and the association meetings were basically trying to get everybody to remember that the same work that it took to put these house up its going to take as much work to keep it nice over here. And we want to keep it nice for generations to come."
Since 1986 Habitat has partnered with more than 580 families to build homes in the Mississippi capital area. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.
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