Dothan Housing Hosted its Second Annual National Night Out (NNO) at the Our Community Housing & Enrichment Center (OCHEC)
— Samiyah Craddock, DH’s Resident Services Manager
DOTHAN, ALABAMA, UNITED STATES, September 12, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — A new partnership was unveiled between two prominent housing organizations in Alabama’s Wiregrass Metropolitan Area (WMA). Dothan Housing (DH) and the Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) surprised two unexpecting DH families with the gift of homeownership through a long-awaited collaboration. Each family was selected to receive a four bedroom, two bathroom single-family home (SFH) through Habitat’s stringent homeownership application process only after making a commitment to personal growth and goals through a DH Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Homeownership Program geared at promoting economic self-sufficiency.
Both families participated in DH’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, directed by Resident Services Manager Samiyah Craddock. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines the FSS program as a tool for the development of local strategies to coordinate public and private resources that help HCV Program participants, public housing tenants, and tenants in Section 8 Project-Based Voucher (PBV) or Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) obtain employment that will enable participating families to achieve economic independence and reduce dependence on welfare assistance and rental subsidies.
“This partnership is one that I, Chairman David Jamison, and the Board of Commissioners have had on our radar for quite a long time,” said Mr. Samuel P. Crawford, CEO of DH. “To see it come to fruition due to the work of our expert team is absolutely priceless.”
The FSS program, open to all DH residents and clients, requires participants to set household and personal goals to help them achieve self-sufficiency. The Resident Services Department and DH’s instrumentality, Building Opportunities toward Self-Sufficiency, Inc. (BOSS), provides high-level resources and programming to ensure that determined participants attain their goals. These expectations require determined, committed, and motivated mindsets, a perfect foundation for the homeownership journey. That commitment inspired Linda Ward, Habitat’s Homeowner Services Director, to see a potential collaboration through the FSS program.
“Working with Linda and the Habitat team has been a great opportunity to show what two housing agencies can do for the community when they come together,” says Samiyah Craddock, DH Resident Services Manager. “I am so proud of our two FSS participants who ran their self-sufficiency marathon and crossed the finish line to enter homeownership, and I am looking forward to continuing the partnership with Wiregrass Habitat, too.”
The partnership announcement comes after the agency hosted its second successful National Night Out (NNO), a community event and national initiative that welcomed law enforcement, various first responders, and community partners to the agency’s new Our Community Housing & Enrichment Center (OCHEC) campus. This is the second year the agency has hosted this event, attracting hundreds to the campus.
DH’s NNO event was designed to strengthen neighborhood relationships as a community-building campaign that promotes community-policing partnerships to reduce crime, increase mutual trust with our residents, and improve community safety. This year’s attendees exceeded expectations, with over 250 attendees and over 50 volunteers from different organizations. Some of the organizations were the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Dothan Police Department, Dothan Fire Department, Dare to Hope, 2 Lives in 1 Lifetime, Inc., Wallace Community College, House of Ruth, Spectra Care Health Systems, Enterprise State Community College, Alfred Saliba Family Center, ADT Security, and other Community Stakeholders.
“Community safety is one of our top priorities here at Dothan Housing,” says DH Community Safety Manager Jason Miller. “Hosting NNO is a great opportunity to unite neighborhoods with our local heroes in a positive, stress-free environment that helps build better relationships between law enforcement and community residents.”
DH happily “partners” with other industry professionals like Habitat to ensure the socioeconomic status and community safety gap lessens. Homeownership allows families to move away from tenant and apartment-style living and into a sense of permanence and community belonging. This permanence brings a positive impact of stability on all household members as well as financial stability.
In a room full of excitement, cheers, gold, green, and blue pom poms, as well as confetti, two FSS program graduates, Monica Jackson, and Ashley Griffin, received news that their applications were accepted and that they met the requirements for the homeownership program offered by Habitat. The life-changing moment was commemorated with a “key” presentation and words of encouragement from both DH and Habitat.
“We are committed to expanding housing opportunities through our new homeownership program and landlord incentives as a Moving to Work (MTW) agency,” stated Dr. Michael C. Threatt, COO of DH. “Partnerships such as this are strategic moves in a larger development plan to help us address the 11,000 applicants on our waiting list.”
In the presence of Habitat’s Board of Directors and DH’s Board of Commissioners, Dr. Tamara Berry-Andrews, Chief Housing Officer for DH, enthusiastically announced that the new partnership between both entities would allow, on a biannual basis, two FSS participants to be selected for homeownership through Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity. This historic partnership under the administrations of Donna Clemmons, Habitat Executive Director, and Samuel P. Crawford, DH CEO, is an exciting opportunity for both entities to help meet the housing needs of the WMA together through homeownership.
“We are incredibly grateful to Habitat for their willingness to help us house our families and their commitment to at least two spots out of the five offered biannually for this program to be reserved for DH applicants,” says Dr. Berry-Andrews.
Both awarded homes are scheduled to be completed by Spring 2024, with one possibly being ready by December of this year, according to the five phases described by LaDonice Freeney, DH Director of Compliance & Policy. The public and media are encouraged to follow the process via social media and the websites of both Habitat and DH.
“As a housing authority of the future, we committed to changing the narrative and imploring innovative strategies to push our families towards affordable homeownership,” says Freeney.
For more information on DH’s HCV Homeownership and FSS programs, plans for real estate development, or its Community Preservation and Revitalization (CPR) initiative to revitalize the Baptist Bottom Neighborhood, please get in touch with us or visit our website at www.dothanhousing.org.
Homeownership for Two FSS Participants: Dothan Housing Partners with Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity