Caden Lee Carter may never know what it’s like to spend the holidays in a substandard home. That’s because his parents — Roderick and Quinetta Carter — partnered with The Fuller Center for Housing to build a new home alongside dozens of volunteers at the 2015 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Shreveport.
Their goal in the fall of 2015 was to provide a solid foundation for their son, who will turn 9 months old on Friday. Despite being pregnant, Quinetta happily put in the sweat equity in the building of their home, which sits in the Allendale neighborhood of Shreveport.
That they would have selected Allendale as the place to raise their son was unthinkable a little more than a decade ago. When Fuller Center founder Millard Fuller was asked to help alleviate a housing crisis in the city after an influx of refugees from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he decided that Shreveport would be the first city to see Fuller Center homes rise in the U.S. City officials and law enforcement authorities at the time, however, warned Fuller that there was one area where he should not work and they could not guarantee safety — Allendale, an area so beset by drugs, prostitution and violent crime that it was considered beyond hope.
True to form, Millard Fuller responded, “Well, in that case, we’ll work in Allendale.”
Allendale is a proud neighborhood of choice where major crime has fallen more than 80 percent.
He believed no person, no family, no neighborhood, no city was beyond hope. And he more than proved his point with the resurrection of Allendale. A few dozen new homes and 11 years later, Allendale is a proud neighborhood of choice where major crime has fallen more than 80 percent. The neighborhood that Quinetta had once struggled to escape is the very one she returned to for her son’s sake.
“It’s very different,” she said. “We used to live in Allendale when it was a bad neighborhood and drug-infested. I see a big difference in Allendale. It’s much quieter. No one is hanging out on the corners like they used to. You don’t see violence like you did back then.”
Quinetta works for a local call center, while Roderick works at Wal-Mart. He said the close-knit community is quiet and that his neighbors are like family. With the new baby and new home, the Carters are seeing the holidays as a time of joy rather than one of stress and worry.
“We had Thanksgiving at the house, and it was a different experience,” Roderick said. “We had a lot of friends and family over, and they loved the house. It’s just wonderful, and we’re getting ready to decorate for Christmas.”
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