Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity President Charles Ware, home recipient Lou-Quan Lucious, grandmother Gracie Jones and MSU President Mark Keenum shovel dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony for the 10th Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity Home. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff
August 15, 2018 10:38:54 AM
After years of trying, Lou-Quan Lucious finally got to see work begin on her Habitat for Humanity home on Tuesday.
Lucious, 25, is the recipient of the 10th Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity Home, which is being built through a partnership between Mississippi State University and the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity.
During a Tuesday morning groundbreaking ceremony on Chisholm Street in the Sunset subdivision, Joel Downey, executive director for the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity, said Lucious has persisted for years in applying for a Habitat home.
"She first applied for a Habitat house in 2013," Downey said. "So she's been working at this for a while. We've come a long way together, both of us."
Lucious, during the ceremony, said she is thankful for the support Habitat has shown her through the process.
"I know I came with a lot, but they were very patient and willing to help me with everything I came with," she said. "I just want to thank everybody for doing what they do."
The Maroon Edition homes are geared specifically toward getting involvement and volunteers from Mississippi State University. MSU President Mark Keenum said that can include university staff, faculty and retirees.
However, the home, which ties into the Maroon Edition First-Year Reading Experience, is especially focused on students.
"We ask all incoming students to read a common book to have a shared experience as they come and matriculate into our university," Keenum said. "We also want them to have a shared service experience as well. What better experience for them to be able to share than to come and help somebody be able to have a home?"
Lucious said she's looking forward to working on the home, as all Habitat recipients are required to contribute 300 "sweat equity" hours into the project.
Recipients must also complete financial literacy classes and pay a mortgage for the principal of the home cost.
After the ceremony, Lucious said the home will be the first she's owned. She has two children -- 3-year-old Nalayiah Davis and 7-year-old Norkaylen Jackson. She's expecting a third child, Nyeema Stewart, in the fall.
The home will also have Lucious living closer to her grandmother, Gracie Jones, who resides two streets over. Jones said she's happy to see Lucious finally get the home, after years of persistence.
"I am very proud of her because she has worked so hard," Jones said. "She has been trying and it seems like thing would just go this way and that way, but like I told her, she finally made it. She made it, and give God the honor for that. I'm excited for her. I'm more excited for her, I think, than she is."
Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity President Charles Ware, who said he grew up on the same side of town as and went to the same school as Jones, said that he hopes the home will make a positive impact for Lucious and her family.
"When you look at the Habitat website, it says that we solidify and build strong communities," Ware said. "What it doesn't say is that it's a game-changer for the new homeowner."
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