Habitat for Humanity: A Success Through Partnerships
Three years ago, Latrice Grant found herself a frightened victim of abuse, a single mother, and newly homeless. She left her previous home clutching little more than some clothing, a few personal items, and her 5-year-old daughter's hand. But she did not find herself alone. A call to a local helpline put her in touch with Portsmouth's Help and Emergency Response agency, where she found shelter, food, emotional support, and the means to provide a semblance of continuity and stability for her daughter. By the time her 28-day stay had ended, HER had also directed her to the Portsmouth Area Resource Coalition and given her something else: an application form for a Habitat for Humanity home.
PARC provided Latrice with access to an apartment that she could afford, the ability to keep her daughter in her own school, and guidance toward balancing a single mom's budget. With the Habitat for Humanity application deadline only days away, Latrice was informed that she had been granted the right to purchase a new Habitat home. within four months, she had completed Habitat's budget, home ownership, and home maintenance instruction, and moved into her new home.
Today, Latrice is the proud and grateful owner of a beautiful, well-kept, new home, and a member of her neighborhood civic league. She is glad to be part of a community that includes nine other Habitat for Humanity homeowners, and glad to have others know that for those who face challenges, fears, and risks, the helping hands of organizations like HER, PARC, the P-Town Thrift Store, Habitat for Humanity, and the Portsmouth Partnership are our there. Latrice is truly grateful for the helping hands that she found in Portsmouth.
Latrice Grant stands before her Habitat home.
In June of 2006, Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads conducted a 10-home blitz build on lots assembled by the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority in the Brighton section of the city. The Portsmouth Partnership Foundation teamed up with Partnership President Ken Jolley's Associated Contracting Services to cover the construction costs for Latrice Grant's home (pictured here).
Partnership member John Wright's Waverton Associates covered the entire cost of an additional home, while Partnership board members Jerrold Miller, of Earl Industries and John Hall, of John E. Hall Electric Contractor also made significant contributions toward the blitz build effort. Several individual members of the Portsmouth Partnership contributed to the project as well.
Chick-fil-A Breaks Ground on GPDC Site
A successful long-term investment pays off when a clear vision is supported by the ability to create the right set of circumstances. Portsmouth can count herself fortunate that the Greater Portsmouth Development Corporation, a 501 c3-based joint effort of the Portsmouth Partnership, the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the City of Portsmouth, combines impeccable vision and patience as it teams with an aggressive Economic Development staff to build Portsmouth's tax revenues, job opportunities, and quality of life. The recent ground-breaking for Chick-fil-A's new location on Frederick Boulevard is a testament to the power of this teamwork.
The GPDC's mission is to turn the city's under-utilized properties into productive, revenue- and job-producing sites, even if years of waiting may be required while producing a: halo-effect" that encourages private investment along the way. In early 2022, the organization began acquiring several adjacent parcels along Frederick Boulevard, opposite the derelict Mid-City Shopping Center, with an eye toward developing an attractive, vibrant corridor leading to Portsmouth's midtown district. Slowly but surely, the plan has been working: a Rally's location was the first to open, followed by an IHOP restaurant. With the demolition of Mid-City, a Walmart Supercenter followed. And plans call for PRHA's new Seaboard Square neighborhood to stretch all the way to Frederick Boulevard.
The Chick-fil-A deal was not a slam dunk. The ED staff's effort began in early 2011 when contact was first made with Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy at a luncheon where he was the featured guest speaker. Many months of follow-up and site review finally led to the selection of the GPDC's 2.4-acre parcel along the Frederick Blvd. corridor, which had earlier been cleared and readied for development. The sales contract was executed in mid-December of 2011, engineering and permitting were fast-tracked in 2012, and the restaurant's opening is scheduled for April 2013.