During the week ahead, 26 Twin Cities homes will be completed by Habitat for Humanity in the 27th annual Carter Work Project, with the personal participation of President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter. The big week kicked off on Sunday, October 3 at the Mall of America.
This year’s Carter Work Project, an internationally recognized event for Habitat for Humanity International, will honor President Carter’s 86th birthday by repairing 86 homes in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore and Annapolis, Md; Birmingham, Ala.; and Minneapolis and St. Paul. Each year, the Carters travel the world for a week, building homes and raising awareness of the need for affordable housing. The 26 Twin Cities homes are located in North Minneapolis’s Hawthorne EcoVillage and St. Paul’s East Side Payne-Phalen neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have been severely affected by the foreclosure crisis.
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity homeowners shared their stories and five local bands performed at the opening ceremonies. U.S. Senator Al Franken also spoke at the event along with former Congressmember Jim Ramstad, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity President and CEO Sue Haigh, and Carter Work Project homebuyer Ya Landa Kinchelow.
The program began with thanks for the volunteers of Habitat for Humanity and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. When addressing the audience, Franken recognized the Carters as “the voice of conscience over the years.” Franken also shared his excitement to be a part of this project, saying, “It’s my job to be Habitat’s voice in Washington. … We should never keep quiet on the issue of communities and finding a place for people to live.”
|Carter week Habitat for Humanity coverage in TCDP
• President Jimmy Carter leads Habitat team in North Minneapolis [includes video and audio slideshow]
In a later interview, Franken said he will be doing some “nailing” on site on Wednesday in the Minneapolis location. He said the Carter Work Project and Habitat’s work in general are a necessity for the community. “This week is one piece of everything (speaking on the foreclosure crisis), but it is a big piece,” Franken said. “It is recognizing the basic human need not just for shelter, but good shelter.”
Ya Landa Kinchelow, a Carter Work Project homebuyer, expressed her gratitude for all of the volunteers and the project in general. In a later interview, Kinchelow said, “The volunteers are wonderful. I look at them not as coworkers, but as family and friends.”
Kinchelow revealed that originally she was skeptical of the project. “One of my coworkers tried to get me to sign up, but I kept blowing it off thinking it wouldn’t work.” Kinchelow said. Now, she can’t believe that she is about to become a homebuyer.
While the process can be slow for some people because of lack of funding, she said her experience was different, describing the process as “bam, bam, bam.” Kinchelow said she is grateful for Habitat for Humanity because “there is nothing hidden. They don’t forget to tell you anything. At our homeowners meetings you can never say you didn’t know something. In our world today it is so rare that they lay it all out for you like that.”
Construction activity begins Monday in Minneapolis on the corner of 31st Ave. N. and N. 6th Street and in St. Paul on the corner of E. York Ave. and Burr Street. More information about the 27th annual Carter Work Project can be found on the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity website.