HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Devin Fair — The hard work makes us appreciate it more
CLARKSDALE, Mississippi — Devin Fair says that, indeed, it’s nice that she and husband Tommie and their four children have a new home for the holidays. However, She says all the days they spend in their new Fuller Center home are gifts to treasure.
“I think it’s just important to have adequate housing, period, no matter what the day is, no matter whether it’s a holiday or not,” she insists. “It’s important just being a homeowner. I’m 37 years old, and I’ve always wanted to be a homeowner. We did not own the last home we lived in. Without The Fuller Center program, it would have been very hard to become a homeowner.”
Technically, they do not have a brand new home. The Clarksdale Area Fuller Center for Housing owned the property after its previous owner abandoned it in 2018, leading to foreclosure. The Clarksdale Area FCH board unanimously approved Devin’s family as the home’s new owners — but much work would be needed to get the house back into shape. Devin says they were not intimidated by hard work … or a lack of sleep.
“It was very tiresome because I work the graveyard shift,” she recalls of putting in the sweat equity hours. “All day long I came here and painted and cleaned, and then I’d have to go work all night. In the process of moving into this house, they were days when I was up for 24 hours. But I’m not complaining!”
She says that the new home gives the family more space and is much more energy-efficient than the old wooden home they rented previously. She said it may not be a new home, but it’s a “new-to-us home.”
“When I walk in that house and look at those walls, I painted those walls,” Devin says. “All the hard work that I did and we put into it, it makes me appreciate it even more. I wouldn’t have wanted it to be flat-out given to us.”
The family had help from volunteers, including a student group from Georgia Southwestern State University’s Jimmy Carter Leadership Program and from Holy Family Catholic Church of Joliet, Illinois, which persevered through a rainy week that saw the entire front yard of the house flooded.
Devin was so inspired by the volunteer team’s determination that she told Clarksdale Area FCH’s Bill Sutton:
“You gotta tell me when those Holy Family folks are coming back,” he recalls her saying. “I’m working with them again on whatever project y’all have!!”