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Project ‘changing dirt into homes’

Shovels hit dirt Tuesday morning as the groundbreaking for Moss Court began.

Moss Court, Selma’s newest public housing development, will be located at the corner of Franklin Street and L.L. Anderson Avenue.

It will include 10 two-, three- and four-bedroom houses and should be complete by the fall of 2003, said George Needham, board chairman for the Selma Housing Authority.

Construction is expected to begin in early spring.

Needham began the ceremony by saying that the process of building housing is a reinvestment of blessings that the community has received from the government.

Needham said that Johnny Moss, executive director of the Housing Authority, has been the dreamer in the organization and naming the development Moss Court is the board’s way of recognizing him.

“We want to honor Johnny,” Needham said.

Mayor James Perkins Jr., also took to the podium Tuesday. He said that it takes a lot of effort to get to a point where dirt can be changed into homes.

“This is a good day,” Perkins said.

Perkins remembered that a number of obstacles had first to be overcome before Moss Court could become a reality.

Some of these obstacles included training people in home ownership and securing funding, Perkins said.

Needham said that training is provided by the Jonathan Daniels Community Development Corporation. He said it was a non-profit group that received its funding from national organizations.

Jonathan Daniels CDC provides a home ownership counseling program that takes place in the Peoples Bank boardroom. The training itself includes teaching people elements of finance such as saving money and balancing checkbooks.

Forrest Hatfield, senior vice-president and compliance officer at Peoples, said he hoped that there were many more similar endeavors like Moss Court in the years to come.

After trials such as training and funding had been taken care of, Perkins said that a name then had to be chosen for the site.

“What better name than Moss Court?” Perkins asked.

Moss then stepped up to the podium and said that the reason he was there was to build affordable housing.

Family Self-Sufficiency Coordinator Denice Henderson said that after the homes are built money once spent to help people pay for rent will now be used to help pay for mortgages.