Valdosta earns national housing award - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta earns national housing award

January 26, 2005

Valdosta - In the summer of 2003, hundreds of volunteers gathered in Valdosta for a week long home building blitz. "It was amazing!" said John Merriweather.

Twenty-five new houses were built in just six days as part of Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy Carter Work Project. That week was the beginning of a new life for John Merriweather, as he and his family purchased their first home. "I felt love because to see so many people from other states that you didn't even know helping build your home, it meant a lot," said Merriweather.

Now the National Community Development Association is honoring the city of Valdosta for providing residents like Merriweather with affordable housing. "This is the first time the award's ever been given, there were 17 cities throughout the country and most of them were a lot bigger than Valdosta," said Mara Register, Community Development Director.

But the city's effort didn't stop when the Jimmy Carter Work Project ended. "We're now shifting our focus to housing rehabilitation and repairing existing housing units," said Register.

They're working daily to meet their goal of eliminating all substandard housing in the city by 2020. "Its the typical American dream and I feel like its our duty as a local government to do what we can to assist with that dream and make sure that all our citizens have a decent and safe place to live," said Register.

A dream Merriweather is living every day in the home he always wished for.

posted at 3:20 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com