Habitat for Humanity rebuilding Southeast Dallas neighborhood

Habitat for Humanity is taking on the big task rebuilding an entire Dallas neighborhood.

Joppa is located in Southeast Dallas. It is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods and also one of its poorest. But the outlook for Joppa is changing.   

Come Friday, the historic street will be transformed into a new neighborhood filled with grateful first-time homeowners.

Ashley Tate doesn't have a blueprint to follow for her life. But for the single mother of two who works two jobs is grateful life's path has taken her to her soon-to-be new home.

“Space and privacy. I’m 32. I can’t wait to have my own bathroom,” she said. “This is truly a blessing. Oh my God.”

Tate is one of 13 people getting a new home thanks in part to the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and thousands of volunteers.

“For me, they provided me with this opportunity to get my own home where my kids have a yard to play in and I don’t have to worry about safety,” Tate said.

The homeowners are responsible for the mortgage. But Habitat helps them get what's called "buyer ready," oftentimes by helping with the down payment.

“We’re able to help them get beyond the barriers blocking them of homeownership,” said Latosha Herron-Bruff with Habitat for Humanity.

40-year-old Chantell Green calls her new home a blessing.

“Because it’s something as a single parent I can’t afford on my own,” she said.

Just Monday, Green’s car caught fire, leaving her and her three kids without transportation. But Green was determined to be there on Tuesday for her groundbreaking. She was moved by inspiring messages written by strangers helping her American dream come true.

“Yes, you’re getting a home. And yes, you’re paying for it. But you’re also putting your blood, sweat and tears also,” she said.

As part of the requirement to get approved for a Habitat home, people — like Green and Tate — have to contribute 200 hours towards the construction of their new home. They say they’re happy to do it.

When Habitat for Humanity purchased land in the historic neighborhood of Joppa, it came with an old school that was for blacks only and started later in the year than most other schools since the students picked cotton. Habitat thought it was important to preserve that history and plan to turn the building into a community center for the neighborhood. They’re asking for input from the homeowners.

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