Photo: Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project Executive Director Kim Roberts (left) and soon-to-be Fuller Center homeowner Alexandria Williams at the start of Monday’s work at the Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Lanett, Alabama.
For these soon-to-be neighbors in Lanett, this build is for the girls
LANETT, Alabama — Alexandria Williams and Terrence Griffin will soon be next-door neighbors in the Jackson Heights neighborhood. Their homes are Nos. 74 and 75 built by the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project and walls began going up today as the 2022 Millard Fuller Legacy Build construction got under way with volunteers from across the nation in town to help.
Williams and Griffin have much more in common than just their soon-to-be geographical proximity. They are both hard-working single parents, each raising daughters. They also appreciate the opportunity to not just become homeowners but also to provide stable foundations for their daughters.
Williams, who works for the city of Lanett, will be moving into house No. 74. She has two daughters, Jordan, 7, and Journey, 6. Jordan turns 8 on Friday — the same day volunteers and supporters will gather to dedicate their new home. Jordan has no problem sharing her birthday with such a life-changing event.
“Jordan is very, very excited and I am, too!” said Williams, who has lived in a local housing authority property for the past six years. “This means everything. My mom has never had much. I just want something that’s going to be mine and know that my girls will always have some place to go because I never had that — never.
“I just want something for my girls so that they will always have somewhere to go,” she added through tears of joy after taking a break to compose herself. “I’ve been working on trying to get a home for a long, long time. It feels really good.”
“You’ve got to work for what you want, and I feel like I’ve been working and working, and then I keep getting knocked back down and knocked back down. When this came, I couldn’t believe it when Ms. Kim called me and told me. I’m just grateful for every little thing now. I can’t thank everyone and all the volunteers enough.”
Terrence Griffin also has been working and working — namely at the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project’s ReUse Store in Lanett, where sales of gently used donated items help fund The Fuller Center’s work in the area. So, he is familiar with how The Fuller Center’s work is accomplished and how homeowners are true partners who repay the costs of construction on terms they can afford, over time, with no interest charged and no profit made. Those repayments go into a Fund for Humanity to help others in his community get the very same kind of hand-up.
“There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t see,” he said of seeing The Fuller Center’s work from both sides, as an employee and as a soon-to-be-homeowner. “It really makes a difference.”
Because his repayments will help others have simple, decent places, Griffin is able to pay forward the help he is getting this week from The Fuller Center and dozens of strangers who will be new friends by Friday.
“It’s a good thing because it’s always an ongoing process with The Fuller Center when it comes to helping people,” he said. “When I pay, I look at it as me helping the next person. And being able to own the house, that’s helping me, too.”
Griffin is excited to be able to move out from under his mother’s roof, but his daughters — ages 14, 14 and 6 — may be even more excited.
“They think they’re going to come in and run everything,” he said with a smile. “But mostly they’re excited about just being able to be together in one house.”