Habitat for Humanity builds homes for South Mississippi’s needy

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Habitat for Humanity is again helping make dreams come true. The organization has begun building 41 homes across the Coast with the assistance of NeighborWorks America and Hope Enterprise Corporation. The goal is to provide more help for South Mississippians in need of a place to call home.

"I have seen this on TV, but I never dreamed I would be the recipient of a home," said Ednearl Epps.

Epps was all smiles as she toured her nearly completed home in Moss Point. Mold and termites had all but destroyed Epps' old home, and she couldn't afford to fix it.

"I lost my husband in April, a year ago, on the 18. The insurance didn't come forth, so I had to do something. I thank God for enabling Habitat for Humanity to come in and help me," said Epps.

40 of Epps' neighbors in South Mississippi were also fortunate enough to receive help thanks to Hope, NeighborWorks and Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tuesday, the organizations celebrated the partnership and project.

"When we work collectivity, hand-in-hand, we are much stronger and more resilient," local Habitat CEO Chris Monforton said.

The construction project began at the end of 2012, and more than half of the homes are already finished. Also, $5 million in New Markets Tax Credits were acquired and used as a foundation for the builds.

"New Markets Tax Credits is a program designed to attract private investment in underserved communities, so we work with Habitat for Humanity to make sure they had the resources to build this and 40 other homes. Home ownership is a primary asset that most Americans have and it stabilizes communities," Bill Bynum, of Hope Enterprise Corporation said.

As this round of construction wraps up on the Coast, habitat officials are pushing for more funding to expand the organization's work in communities.

"We have over 100 families on our waiting list, and every day we receive more and more inquires. We can't serve families unless we have access to the resources to be able to meet their needs," Monforton said.

Habitat officials said all the homes that are part of this project should be move-in ready by the end of the year.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved