Habitat opens another door

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The tears coupled with the smile on Francine Davis’ face spoke far louder than her words as she expressed gratitude for the Suffolk Habitat for Humanity volunteers who made her dream of homeownership a reality.

Another life has been transformed through the diligence of Suffolk Habitat, which unlocked the door to the city’s 14th consecutive low- to moderate-income homeownership opportunity on Saturday.

Habitat officers, city officials and neighbors joined the celebration with Davis, 54, a former Norfolk resident. Davis’ two grandchildren will reside in the three-bedroom home with her.


Email newsletter signup

The ribbon-cutting of this house is also symbolic in that it represents a continuum of revitalization efforts in the Orlando community at 502 Eola Ave. Earlier on Saturday, across from the new house, the Greater First Baptist-Orlando church unveiled a $1.5 million sanctuary, which will also house numerous outreach programs in the neighborhood.

The Davis home property and the site of the upcoming15th Suffolk Habitat house, also to be erected in Orlando, was donated by the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The SRHA has partnered with Suffolk Habitat since its origin in 1993.

Davis, an in-home counselor for Family Systems Mental Health Homes, said she always had a desire to own a home, but never &uot;thought it could happen.&uot; If she had to rely on tradition channels, Davis believes, she would still be renting. She learned about the Suffolk Habitat application process from a family friend, who owns a Habitat house in Chesapeake.

&uot;This has all been so wonderful,&uot; said an emotional Davis during an interview. &uot;I just feel so overwhelmed and thankful. I finally have something to leave my children. I did not ever foresee this happening.&uot;

Davis told those gathered at her home on Saturday, &uot;God is a good God. I just thank everyone.&uot;

Dale Feltes, a board member of the Hampton Roads Habitat, stated that the group looks forward to more houses being developed in Suffolk to serve the targeted population. SRHA Executive Director Clarissa E. McAdoo welcomed and congratulated Davis for &uot;the bold step of homeownership.&uot;

Suffolk Habitat Coordinator Fran Alwood presented Davis with a gift certificate from Wal-Mart.

South Hampton Roads Habitat for Humanity is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. To date, Since its inception 1988, 105 homes have been constructed. Habitat’s mission is to eradicate substandard housing by providing homeownership opportunities to low-income families who do not qualify for a traditional mortgage.

Volunteer labor, financial and material donations all complete the package of building houses with the assistance of the soon-to-be homeowners.

Habitat houses are then sold to families at no profit and financed with affordable, no-interest loans.