UVA men’s basketball team lends a hand to Southwood redevelopment progress
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville had some extra hands Saturday, July 9 to help with the Southwood redevelopment project.
Luckily, no extra ladders were necessary. The UVA men’s basketball team partnered with the organization to help get the progress going.
The team did landscaping for the first two homes built in what has been a fifteen year long project. Organizers with Habitat for Humanity say the team’s efforts and the overall project are creating affordable housing and community. They say it’s a day for celebration.
“It’s important to help the community that you live in,” former UVA basketball player Isaiah Wilkins said. “The guys are excited to get out here, get their hands dirty and figure out ways to help the community.”
Wilkins volunteered with Habitat for Humanity when he was on the men’s basketball team. Now, he’s a grad assistant and helping with the Southwood redevelopment. He says work like this is something coach Tony Bennett encourages. The Bennett and Habitat relationship even led to a park in Southwood being named five pillars park after his coaching strategy.
The team is helping the community, by building it.
“Ultimately, more than 500 affordable homes will be in this community. It will be a mixed income community of more than 1000 homes,” director of donor relations with Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Charlottesville Kelly Eplee said.
Eplee was with the organization when it purchased the Southwood property fifteen years ago. He says the goal was to avoid residents getting evicted from their homes there.
People can afford to live in their trailers, but they can’t afford to live elsewhere. The important part is we are redeveloping, helping them build homes so that they can remain here as a community,” Eplee said.
He says this could be a long term solution in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area, not only for providing affordable housing but helping people break the cycle of poverty so that they can own something, build equity and build social equity out of it.
This project is still in the works and it could be a few months until these homes are actually ready for move in. If you want to help speed along the process you can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville. You can call 434-293-9066 or go here
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