Volunteers Renovate Affordable Homes in Bed-Stuy to Honor M.L. King Jr.

January 23, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Last weekend, 80 volunteers from 14 faith groups throughout the city joined future homeowners to renovate houses for Habitat for Humanity-New York City (Habitat-NYC) in Brooklyn.

Held annually to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the MLK Build focused this year on a six-unit building at 849 Halsey St. They also painted the senior center at the Housing Authority’s nearby Saratoga Square Houses at 930 Halsey.

This was Habitat-NYC’s 13th annual “Building on a Dream” Martin Luther King Jr. weekend to recognize King’s vision and to continue his dream by organizing volunteers to build affordable homes and to paint a senior center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

“Nearly half a century has passed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech, but his powerful legacy of social justice and service lives on,” said Josh Lockwood, Executive Director of Habitat-NYC. “This weekend, Habitat volunteers and family partners came together to honor Dr. King”

At a special program on Saturday afternoon, Assembly Member Karim Camara, who is Senior Pastor at Abundant Life Church and Chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, delivered the keynote speech.

Thabiti Boon, representing the Obama administration and the Corporation for National and Community Service, awarded Habitat-NYC family partners with Presidential commendations for their service to the community.

The program included music by the New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus, a poetry reading byJonathan Walton of the New York City Urban Project and an invocation by the Rev. Walter Alston of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Guests also included Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York State Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries, Habitat-NYC Board Member Rodneyse Bichotte and Daniel Supplice, Minister of Haitians Living Abroad. On Sunday, Rabbi Andy Bachman of Congregation Beth Elohim addressed volununteers.

Gail Tilson, a future Habitat-NYC homeowner, told the audience that she will be sharing her new home with her four-year-old grandson. “I’ve always had a dream to become a homeowner,” she said. “Working with Habitat has given me the opportunity to meet people from all cultures who are helping people who need help.”

Also, during the ML King weekend, Habitat-NYC launched its 2012 Housing Covenant, the organization’s annual housing advocacy agenda.A volunteer is laying flooring in a Halsey Street residential building. Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity-NYC.

Covenant priorities for this year include the following:

• Ensuring that affordable homeownership remains an essential and central public policy issue as a solution to our city’s affordable housing crisis

• Calling for 2013 Mayoral Candidates to produce comprehensive affordable housing plans that address the full housing continuum, from ownership and rental to supportive and emergency housing

Faith groups participating on Sat. Jan. 14, inlcuded All Souls Christian Church, NYC Ismaili Community, MUPPIES (Muslim Urban Professionals), Wayside Baptist Church, Radical Living, Catholic Ministry team, Islamic Center of NYU, New Light Baptist Church and Greater Allen Cathedral of New York

Faith groups participating on Sunday, Jan. 15, included Hunter Hillel, Ansche Chesed, Park Avenue Synagogue, Central Synagogue and Congregation Beth Elohim.

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