Habitat dedicates 14th house Sunday

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 22, 2010

NATCHEZ — Natchez resident Stephanie Ross has always wanted a house of her own to share with two children, 11-year-old Jeremy Lewis and 1-year-old JaMya Lewis.

After more than 500 hours of work, no Saturdays off since February and some help from the community, that dream became a reality Sunday afternoon on Smith Street.

“I have been praying for something to make my life better,” Ross said. “And I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity.”

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Ross’s house was built as a part of the Natchez-Adams County Habitat for Humanity project, and she was handed the keys in a dedication ceremony Sunday.

Habitat President Andrew Calvit said this is the 14th house the organization has built in Natchez, and the seventh on Smith Street.

“This is the last lot we had to build on Smith,” he said. “We came in here and developed all of the vacant lots one house at a time.”

Calvit said Habitat for Humanity houses have helped many area families along with the City of Natchez.

“We are turning renters into owners,” he said. “The houses on these lots produce tax revenue, and that is good for the city.”

Calvit said the Habitat projects are a transformation process for the new owner and the city.

“We are turning houses into homes,” he said. “And we want these homes to turn into communities.”

Calvit said Habitat received help from area churches, businesses and organizations throughout Natchez.

“I could go on and on listing all of the people who helped us build this house,” he said. “It has been a challenge to build it, but now that it is finished, it is good to see the fruits of our labor.”

Ross said she was thankful to have the support of so many people during the building process.

“I don’t want to get teary-eyed,” she said. “But this is something we needed. Anything is possible. It may take a while, but you just have to believe.”

Jeremy Lewis said he was thankful for the opportunity to live in a brand new house.

“I have always dreamed of living in a new home, and now my dream is coming true,” he said.

Calvit said the next house Habitat is working on is going to be on Zoa Street in Natchez.

“We have already started to dig the foundation,” he said. “We are looking to have it finished around this time next year.”