13:59 PM

Community Impact: Habitat for Humanity of Madison County

For 20 years, Habitat for Humanity of Madison County has been an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, the worldwide nonprofit that works with families to build affordable homes.

Habitat for Humanity International started in 1976 in Americus, Ga., and now builds houses in more than 70 countries and almost 1,400 communities across the U.S. Habitat partners with prospective homeowners to build or renovate houses. New homeowners work alongside volunteers to build their home, for which they pay an affordable, interest-free mortgage.

Based in Comer, Habitat of Madison County was organized in 1998, and has built eight houses and remodeled one. Using the Habitat model for homeownership helps get families unable to qualify for conventional loans into homes and provides them with a community as well, according to Habitat of Madison County President John King.

“We work with the families to build their houses, and then visit them and keep in touch,” King said. “We live in the same community and care about one another.”

Ron Little, Don Mosley and Larry Blount formed the affiliate in 1998 in response to the need in Madison County for affordable housing. Two years later, they completed construction on the first Habitat house on land in Comer donated by Ron and his wife, Marcia. Eighteen years later, the Littles are still neighbors to the organization’s first homeowner. The affiliate’s last home was built in 2017 and the next is set for construction this year, according to King, who says Habitat owns 15 lots in Comer on which to build future homes.

“There’s real need for safe, affordable housing here,” he says, noting that Habitat of Madison County builds one house every two or three years. “We would like to build more. We have the lots and we have some funds. Our challenge is to increase the number of volunteers on our board and to increase Habitat’s visibility in the county so we can eventually build one house each year.”

While many Habitat affiliates have at least one paid staff member, the Madison County affiliate is an all-volunteer organization with a need for more leadership, according to its president.

The Jackson EMC Foundation has provided several grants to Habitat of Madison County to purchase building materials such as drywall, plumbing fixtures, and vinyl siding. The last grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation provided $10,000 for the organization to purchase building materials for its next house.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Madison County, visit MCGHFH.org.